I am safe. I am nourished. I am grounded. I am home.
Muladhara is the Sanskrit name for Chakra One. It means "root support." Living at the base of the spine, muladhara is the first chakra of seven. Like its names suggests, it is the vital exchange point for our relationship to the earth. A healthy root chakra begins with honoring this opportunity to be embodied.
The root chakra is about the basics, the foundational stuff. When we don’t have a good connection through this center we will feel anxious, unmoored, alien. We become disassociated us from our bodies and other peoples' bodies. It can cause us to treat the physical world with a lack of respect and care.
When this chakra is in need of healing and empowerment, we might notice one of two patterns:
In one extreme, we are unable to put down physical or emotional or spiritual roots, incapable of creating nourishing, grounding and restful routines.
In the other extreme, the desperate search for safety and solid ground drives one to become rigidly stuck in routine, unable to go on new adventures, to flow with life or to change when change comes calling.
To bring the root chakra back into optimum health means to bring about a sense of safety, groundedness, deep connection and belonging.
Here is the intro talk from my last Chakra One workshop, followed by some exercises for honoring Chakra One and bringing it back into balance.
13 minute talk on chakra one, recorded at prema yoga brooklyn.
/// AT HOME IN THIS BODY ///
The root chakra governs the whole body. Feeling the realness of your body against the realness of the world is brings it into balance.
Anything that helps you feel safe, strong, vibrant and easeful in your body is great. Working with the feet, legs and pelvic floor can be especially helpful.
- OPEN FEET > feel your feet on the ground while you're sitting or standing. can you make the feet more supple? spread them out and imagine you could breathe in and out of them. release your energy down into the earth and draw her energy back up. rolling out the feet with golf, tennis or lacrosse balls is also great.
- STRENGTHEN LEGS > do squats, tadasana, warrior poses, kali pose
- YIN OR RESTORATIVE YOGA > this helps you redevelop trust in your quiet and still parts
- BE TOUCHED > get massage or reiki or receive a nice long hug
- TOUCH > lay hands on a loved one or anything connected to the earth (pets and trees work great for this one!) be still and quiet, bring your awareness to the energy exchange between you and the other. sense how your not so separate.
- NUTRITION JOURNAL > How do you nourish yourself? How do you nourish others?
- SAY GRACE > Before you eat, thank every being that contributed to your food's journey between the earth and your mouth. If it takes too long, consider how you might get closer to the source of your food!
If you want to build your life on a solid foundation, meditate every day. I haven't found anything better suited for cultivating a deep connection with everything that is steadfast, peaceful and healthy.
Here are few examples of mediations that help heal muladhara chakra
- NOURISHMENT MEDITATION > Get into a comfortable position. Breathe in and out, noticing how the breath brings in what you need and releases what you don't. Rest. Feel how you are always being comforted, nourished and loved by your environment. You don't have to "earn" it by doing anything. Just be.
- SAFETY MEDITATION > Visualize the safest, most comfortable environment you can. Feel yourself sitting there. What does it feel like in your body, that sense of being safe? Is there a way to feel this way more often in your daily life?
- TREE MEDITATION > Sit in a comfortable position. Imagine that you're growing roots through your lower body that connect you deeply into the earth. At the same time feel that the upper body is expanding up and out like branches. Be a tree, perfectly rooted, perfectly reaching, perfectly connected, perfectly content.
- COLOR RED > Visualize yourself as the root chakra, breathing in and out scarlet red
- PELVIC FLOOR MEDITATION > Sit comfortably and get a sense that you are anchored on the earth. Feel your perineum. Practice softening it and relaxing it down. Practice contracting it and drawing it up. Then try to find something in the middle, a relaxed awareness of that part of the body.
- MANTRAS > you can work with these seated, or going about your day:
- I am grounded.
- I am nourished.
- I belong.
- I am real.
- I am here.
- I am never disconnected from the source of life
/// AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ///
It can be helpful to take a good look at your daily routines and physical environments and how you interact physically and energetically with them.
What will more firmly establish the sense that you are safe, you are steady, you are connected to the Big Mama? What can you do to give Her some of your load? What can you do to be more open to Her nourishment? She wants to help. But you have to open the door. This is muladhara chakra work.
ROUTINE + RITUAL
Routine that is solid and steady but also loving and alive develops a healthy root chakra. If you feel anxious, exhausted and burnt out, it's likely that you are avoiding those regular routines that bring grounding and respite.
If, on the other hand, you are totally resistant to change, then your daily habits may have become so hardened that they are not actually bringing in the nourishment they're meant to. Are your routines open enough to let in water, light and air?
Rituals help us remember that spiritual work happens right here on the material realm. Watching your own embodied form undertake sacred actions heals the divide between matter and spirit.
- DAILY HABITS JOURNAL > free-write about your daily routines. set a timer for 10 minutes and don't let the pen leave the paper til the buzzer goes. if you have trouble getting started, begin by making one list of the regular habits you have and another of regular habits you want. then see what happens!
- REGULAR RITUAL > develop a simple regular ritual for yourself--something that you will actually do! a 1-5 minute meditation practice every morning before you leave the house or a weekly bath will change everything.
- SEASONAL RITUAL > do an earth ceremony. get some potting soil and an object from nature. plant a hope/wish/dream/intention in the soil. feel your hands in the dirt. then be patient for your new life to grow.
- GENTLE CHANGE > letting go of old negative habits and creating new ones is not easy for any of us. BE KIND TO YOURSELF. as you begin getting the nourishment you really need through your new habits, like meditation, the old ones will begin to fade away on their own over time. let the process work without you rushing it.
What does home feel like to you? Do you spend some time every day just resting in a nurturing environment, or are you always on the go? Maybe it's time to do some nesting!
Are you so afraid of being unplugged from home that you never go on adventures? Maybe it's time to remember that you can be home in other environments.
- HOME IMPROVEMENT > refresh your living space by cleaning it out, reorganizing it, redecorating. burn palo santo, sage or incense while saying, "anything that isn't here for my greatest and highest good, please leave."
- BODY LANGUAGE CHECK > pause in whatever you're doing and bring awareness to your physical habits. what's your posture like? are you moving a lot or quite still? practice grounding more through your feet, relaxing, breathing more deeply and moving less. notice how this your energy, mood, words and work.
- WALK/RUN OUTSIDE > This opens the senses and helps our body remember how it is at home here in the natural environment.
- TRAVEL > Go somewhere new and discover.
- NATURE > Spend some time hanging out with our beautiful Mother Earth. Commit to visiting the park each day or even spending a few minutes looking at the sky out of your window. As in our human relationships, you have to devote some of your precious time and attention to grow a bond between two beings. You will never be satisfied if this bond isn't nurtured.