MULADHARA CHAKRAS: Stabilizing and Nurturing our Roots
In our pursuit to understand more about the chakras, we will start with the Muladhara chakra, or as known in English, the root chakra.
What does Muladhara mean and where is it located?
The word muladhara can be broken down to two Sanskrit words: mula, meaning root and adhara, meaning support or base. This chakra is located at the base of the spine in the astral body, at the perinium. Hence the name.
What is its element?
This chakra is linked to the earth element in the body. The Apana energy distributed by the root chakra helps in regulating and refreshing the earth element. All food grown on the earth has the earth element in varying quantities, and when we eat this food, this element too enters the body.
Since this chakra maintains our strong connection to the earth, it keeps us grounded and rooted to our true selves. Proper regulation of the earth element is crucial for our wellbeing.
What is its colour?
Since chakras are pure energy, the colour representing them is hypothetical. The chakras do not have their own colour, but rather reflect the colours of their surroundings and the elements they are linked with. In the case of the root chakra, the element is earth. Hence the colour representing this chakra is deep red. Red colour symbolizes our basic and primal instincts of survival, strength and self-protection.
What is its symbol?
The Muladhara chakra is symbolized by a lotus flower with four petals. These petals signify the four elements that form the physical world: earth, water, fire and air. There is a square within the flower, and a triangle within the square. The seed mantra of this element, LAM symbol, is in the centre of the triangle.
What is its seed mantra?
Each chakra has certain sounds arising from its movement. All these sounds combine to form one sound known as the beej mantra or the seed mantra. While meditating on the chakras, chanting the seed mantras is thought to activate the energy centres and regulate them. In the case of Muladhara, the sound is LAM.
What is its significance?
The root chakra links our outer physical world and our internal energy system. It is linked to our basic survival needs as well as the physical structure of the body including skin, flesh and bones. When this chakra is balanced, we tend to feel much more stable, secure, grounded and confident. Adversely, when it is imbalanced, we tend to feel anxious, worried and insecure, and have poor boundaries in our relationship with others.
The vital energy force within us called prana is further divided into five types of energies, each associated with a different function. The Muladhara chakra is the centre of Apana prana which is responsible for removing toxins from the body through excretory functions.
Blocked Muladhara chakra
The Muladhara chakra aims to satisfy the primal and basic needs of survival, food and shelter. When these needs are unmet, it causes a dysfunctional root chakra and leads to altered socio-emotional habits like isolation, disconnection from surroundings, lack of direction in life and feelings of depression. Also, even after having the basic needs met, when we act materialistic by hoarding objects, when we act gluttonous by overeating, or when we become overtly greedy for money and other worldly possessions, these too signify imbalance in the root chakra. Furthermore, this mental stress can often manifest itself physically, leading to symptoms like panic attacks, lethargy, issues in the digestive and excretory processes, reproductive problems, and abdominal or pelvic pain.
Healing a blocked Muladhara chakra
Stabilizing and balancing the root chakra is of utmost importance as it is acts as the survival energy centre. The first step is to try and get the body and mind in sync so we can sense and gauge our emotional and physical disturbances, and identify if they are caused due to the root chakra imbalance. Then we can start to work on regaining the balance through asana, pranayama, mudra and meditative practices. Meditation along with positive affirmations aiming to ground the root chakra are helpful in breaking away from negative habits and cultivating new and better life practices.
Some asanas that are beneficial in balancing Muladhara chakra are Surya Namaskara (sun salutations), Tadasana (standing mountain pose), Uttanasana (standing forward bend), Shashankasana (child’s pose), Shavasana (corpse pose), Malasana (garland pose), Setu bandhasana (bridge pose), Hanumanasana (monkey pose), Virabhadrasana (warrior pose) and Vrikshasana (tree pose).
While building any physical structure like a house or any building for that matter, providing a strong and stable foundation is of utmost importance. So it is with our own bodies. The foundational energy needs to stay balanced so that we can lay a stable foundation for whatever we do in our lives. And a balanced Muladhara chakra where prana flows freely helps us take control of the reigns of our lives and steer it in the right direction.
About the Author
Hardik is an E-RYT 500 & YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider), Yoga Alliance, USA. He has been practicing yoga for the last 9 years. Prior to finding his true calling in Yoga, he was working with various corporates for 12 years in the Retail and eCommerce sector.