by Jamie Nishi
Chakras are energy centers, vortexes or portals within the body that receive, assimilate and transmit life energy. They are deeply connected to our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.
In Sanskrit, chakra means wheel or disk, and chakras are often depicted as wheels, windmills, suns and lotus flowers. An easy analogy to help you imagine what a chakra might look and act like is to imagine our own spinning galaxy of stars, and all the power, life and energy it contains.
Seven Major Chakras
There are hundreds of minor chakras, but only seven major ones, each corresponding to major nerve centers emanating from the spine. The seven chakras move from the base of the spine to the top of the head in a more or less straight line and include the Root Chakra, Sacral Chakra, Solar Plexus Chakra, Heart Chakra, Throat Chakra, Brow (Third Eye) Chakra and Crown Chakra.
The bottom three chakras receive energy from below; the top three chakras receive energy from above; and the Heart Chakra balances them in the center. The chakras are arranged in evolutionary order: from the root, representing earth and survival, to the crown, representing spiritual awakening. All the chakras work together, so when an imbalance is found in one chakra, it inevitably affects the whole system. It follows that an imbalance in the bottom three chakras (survival, emotional balance, self-esteem) will make it very difficult to reach levels related to the other four chakras (love, truth, wisdom and enlightenment).
It’s nearly impossible for all chakras to be in perfect balance at all times. Anything from a move to a job change to a new love affair can throw your chakras out of whack. This article will introduce you in more detail to the first chakra, the Root Chakra, and teach you a few ways to maintain a strong foundation for the whole chakra system and, ultimately, your health and well-being.
Muladhara: Base or Root Chakra
The Muladhara or Root Chakra is located between the sexual organs and the spine. Its energy path extends down through the legs and feet, and into the earth below. Its color is red and its element is earth. It is the foundation of the entire chakra system, representing our connection to the earth, the material world and the physical plane. Its main function is to respond to survival challenges concerning food, shelter, illness, exercise, career, safety and security.
Deficient Root Chakra
Throughout the course of our lives we have to deal with threats to our survival, whether it is moving, losing a job or a loved one, struggling with weight or becoming ill. At any one moment, we may experience feelings of insecurity, shame or fear. In the best case, we learn to deal with it, overcome and move on. But sometimes, it gets the better of us. When you feel you are trapped in a repeating pattern this most likely points to a chakra problem.
A blocked Root Chakra can manifest physically as lower back pain or depression. Other more subtle symptoms include lack of concentration and self-discipline, feeling “spacey” and being unable to relax. In this state, we feel unstable and ill at ease.
Excessive Root Chakra
It’s also possible for the chakra to be too open. In this scenario, we are overly attached to just about everything: money, possessions, our health and career, and loved ones. We are control freaks, resistant to change, and rigidly stuck in the same patterns.
The ideal state is one of balance: to be stable yet flexible, like a willow tree. Here are some tips to help keep your Root Chakra happy.
Grounding is a wonderful, almost instant way to get in touch with your Root Chakra. Begin by sitting in a chair and placing your feet firmly on the ground. Sit up straight and push your feet into the floor, feeling your legs tighten and the energy flow into the Base Chakra. Relax your legs and feet and feel the energy recede. You can repeat this exercise a few times, but be careful not to overdo it. You do not want to over-engage the chakra.
Exercise your Root Chakra
Any activity that helps you connect with your body will strengthen the Root Chakra. So whether it’s ballet, hip-hop, housecleaning, running, yoga or hiking, go for it! But keep in mind that you don’t want to exercise to the point of exhaustion, just to a point where you feel energized.
Energize your Root Chakra
You can energize your Root Chakra via your feet by stomping on the ground, marching or performing squats while concentrating on the Root Chakra area of your body.
Feed your Root Chakra
Foods that are good for the Root Chakra include carrots, potatoes, parsnips, radishes, beets, onions, eggs, meats, beans, tofu, soy products and peanut butter.
Meditate on your Root Chakra
First do the grounding exercise. Then find a comfortable sitting position and imagine the energy from the base of your spine going down into the center of the earth like roots. Visualize these energy roots grounding you firmly to the earth. Then practice the grounding exercise again to finish your meditation.
When the Root Chakra is in balance, we experience liberation via a sense of security, prosperity, and good health. In this state, we are able to focus on other aspects of life, such as love, learning and creative pursuits. The entire chakra system is like a bridge from earth to heaven, beautifully contained within our own miraculous bodies. By nurturing a strong foundation, we ensure a brighter future.
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