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YOGA | A Yogi’s Guide to the Root Chakra (Muladhara)

A Yogi’s Guide to the Root Chakra (Muladhara)

Reading Time: 5 minutes 15 seconds

BY: ISSA

DATE: 2023-12-19


Some people do yoga for the physical benefits it provides since adding yoga to your fitness routine can improve your flexibility, strength, and athletic performance. For others, yoga is a more active form of meditation. It helps them feel calmer and reduces their feelings of stress. But there’s another benefit of doing yoga: chakra healing.

A chakra is an energy center in the body. When a chakra becomes blocked, it can lead to both mental and physical effects. Here we talk about the root chakra specifically. You’ll learn what this chakra means, what happens if it’s blocked, and how it might become blocked. We also share ways to open the root chakra, including which yoga poses work best for this purpose, making them good ones to include in your yoga practice

The First Chakra: The Root Chakra

There are seven chakras in the chakra system. Each is numbered based on its location in the body. The first chakra is the root chakra. It is located at the base of the spine, near the pelvic floor. 

In Sanskrit, the root chakra is called the Muladhara chakra. Mula means “root” and Adhara means “base.” The Muladhara chakra has an earth element and is associated with being rooted and having stability in your life.

After the root chakra, the other chakras are:

  • Second chakra: sacral chakra – pelvis area

  • Third chakra: solar plexus chakra – stomach area

  • Fourth chakra: heart chakra – chest area

  • Fifth chakra: throat chakra – neck area

  • Sixth chakra: third eye chakra – between the eyebrows

  • Seventh chakra: crown chakra – top of the head

Root Chakra Meaning, Symbol, Color, and More

The root chakra is the foundation of the body. In one research article, the author calls it the “fuse box to which all of the other chakras are connected.” (1) When there is balance in the root chakra, it makes it easier to open the other chakras. This first chakra connects our body to the physical world around us. It is important for feeling confident, full of energy, stable, and strong. 

The symbol for the root chakra is a seed mantra that sits inside an inverted triangle. This sits inside a square, which sits inside a circle, which sits inside a four-petalled lotus flower. The inverted triangle represents a downward pull of energy. The square represents stability and structure. The four lotus petals symbolize the mind, intellect, consciousness, and ego.

Chakra colors are assigned based on the chakra’s numerical position in the body and the numerical position of the colors in the rainbow. As the first chakra, the color for the root chakra is red. (The bottom or first color in a rainbow is red.) Thus, you’ll generally see the symbol in this color.

Each chakra is also associated with certain stones, crystals, and gems. Since the root chakra is red, many of the root stones are red or have red in them as well. This includes garnet, red jasper, and bloodstone. Some root stones are black. Hematite and black obsidian are two.


Recap of the Root Chakra

Meaning: stability, inner strength, and confidence

Symbol: seed mantra inside an inverted triangle, inside a circle, inside a four-petalled lotus

Color: red 

Stones, crystals, and gems: red and black in color, such as garnet, red jasper, and hematite


What a Healthy Root Chakra Looks Like

When the root chakra is open and has balance, you feel mentally strong. You have positive energy and are confident in your abilities. You feel grounded, secure, and stable—even in situations that can easily provoke fear.

The Muldahara chakra is all about survival. Your basic needs are met and you can handle whatever comes your way. 

Consequences of an Imbalanced or Blocked Root Chakra

Having an imbalanced or blocked chakra can affect you both mentally and physically. With regard to the root chakra specifically, this can appear in the form of digestive issues and higher levels of stress. It is also related to certain mental health issues.

According to a 2023 study published in the Journal of Quantum Science of Consciousness, poor attention to the root chakra can contribute to (2):

  • paranoia

  • anxiety

  • panic attacks

What Causes Problems with the Root Chakra?

One factor that can present problems for the root chakra is if your basic human needs are not being met. These include food, water, and shelter. Unmet survival needs can create a disconnect between you and the earth. This creates a greater tendency toward materialism. It also leads to isolation and anxiety.

Fear and trauma can also cause a blocked root chakra. Both can negatively affect your feelings of stability and balance. They can leave you with feelings of anger, panic, anxiety, and more.

Signs of Root Chakra Imbalance or Blockage

When energy is unable to flow freely through the root chakra, some refer to this as the chakra being blocked. Others prefer to think of chakra energy in terms of balance. If not enough energy can get through the chakra, it is considered underactive. If too much energy can get through, it is overactive, which can have negative consequences too.

An imbalanced root chakra can impact both the physical body and mind. Signs of an underactive or blocked root chakra include:

  • feeling lethargic

  • experiencing anxiety or feeling panicked

  • health issues in the lower abdomen or back

  • digestive troubles

  • trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

  • reproductive problems

If you have an overactive root chakra, you may experience:

  • paranoia or nervousness

  • anger or aggression

  • hoarding of material things

  • a fixation on money

  • an overwhelming desire to engage in adrenaline-raising activities

  • overeating

Ways to Promote a Healthy, Balanced Root Chakra

The are several actions you can take to help balance your root chakra. One of the easiest is saying affirmations. A chakra affirmation is a statement that you repeat to improve chakra balance. Root chakra affirmations often speak to being grounded or in a safe environment. For example, “I feel safe” is a good root chakra affirmation. “All my basic needs are being met” is another.

Another way to bring balance to your root chakra is to surround yourself with the color red. Place a couple of red throw pillows on your couch or bed. Keep a vase filled with red stones on your dresser to help open this chakra up.

Meditation can also promote chakra healing. Develop a regular meditation practice. During your meditation sessions, focus on the root chakra. Imagine healing around the base of your spine. Envision a foundation that is secure, providing stability to the rest of the body’s energy centers.

If you like essential oils, frankincense and myrrh are good for root chakra healing. So are Atlas and Virginian Cedarwood. Put these oils in your infuser and take in their earthy, woodsy scents.

Yoga for Root Chakra Balance

Certain yoga poses can also help promote root chakra healing. Ones to consider adding to your yoga practice include:

  • Chair pose

  • Child’s pose

  • Corpse pose

  • Dangling pose

  • Garland pose

  • Half bridge pose

  • Mountain pose

  • Staff pose

  • Standing Forward Bend

  • Tree pose

  • Warrior II pose

Each yoga pose helps in different ways. Some help by grounding you and helping you feel more connected to Mother Earth. Others increase your feelings of strength, energy, and calmness.

If you are a yoga instructor, you may want to create a sequence designed solely for root chakra healing. Or you can add some of these poses to your current workout, similarly to the way you might add yoga strength training poses to your fitness routine to help clients build more muscle.

Or maybe you’re not yet a yoga instructor but would like to be. The ISSA Yoga & Wellness Academy offers a Yoga 200 course. Upon its completion, you will be a Certified Yoga Instructor. You’ll also be eligible to apply to the Yoga Alliance as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT).

References

  1. Slater, V. E. (2004). Human holistic and energetic responses following a Tornado. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 22(1), 85–92. https://doi.org/10.1177/0898010103261119 

  2. Camps, N. A., & Goswami, A. (2023, May 2). Quantum science approach to emotional resolution in the Vital Energy Body. Journal Of Quantum Science Of Consciousness. https://www.journal.cqaedu.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/02-Quantum-Science-Approach-to-Emotional-Resolution-in-the-Vital-Energy-Body-By-Gayathri-Shylesh-1.pdf 

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