Do you sometimes feel the need to "get grounded" or to "feel rooted" when in the midst of uncertain times or a transition? When we are undergoing change or find ourselves in a new situation, not only our physical beings, but also our energetic bodies, need to find ground. If you are experiencing issues with money, security, stability, housing, or family, your first chakra may be in need of some tending and attention.
The notion of the chakra system began in India over 4,000 years ago in the literature of the Vedas and was brought to the west in the 1920s through the tradition and practice of yoga. Yoga, meaning yoke, is a discipline designed to merge the individual with the divine by passing through seven expanding states of consciousness, represented by the chakras. The word chakra is derived from the sanskrit word, cakram, meaning wheel or circle. Cakram, or chakra, refers to “a spinning sphere of bioenergetic activity emanating from the major nerve ganglia branching forward from the spinal column."
There are seven major chakras stacked on this column from the base of the spine to the top of the head, as well as minor chakras in other vortices of activity, such as hands, feet, fingertips, and shoulders. Chakras are not necessarily physical entities that can be seen or touched; they express spiritual energies in physical locations on the body. Each of the seven major chakras is related to areas of the body, wavelengths on the color spectrum, psychological issues, and basic rights.
The first chakra is called Muladhara, the Sanskrit word for root. It is located at the perineum, or the base of the spine, and corresponds to the adrenal glands, legs, feet, bones, and the large intestine. On the light spectrum, the first chakra is linked to the wavelength producing the color red. Muladhara governs the central issues of survival, security, family, and finances. It grounds one to the earth element, the womb, and the material world. The basic right expressed in the first chakra is the right to be here and to have. Fitting with other psychological developmental models, the first chakra is congruent with Erikson’s first stage of trust verses mistrust, Freud’s oral stage of development, Maslow’s physiological realm, and Wilber’s pre-personal pleromatic or uroboric fulcrum.
At times, you may experience symptoms associated with first chakra disturbances, such as issues with your adrenal glands, legs, feet, bones, or the large intestine. Eating disorders, sciatica, and constipation are common when one's first chakra is off balance. The shadow side of the first chakra, or the dark emotion associated with it, is fear.
To become grounded in the root chakra is to be oriented to time and space and to bring consciousness into the body. Grounding provides one with the ability to contain and to set healthy boundaries. In the first chakra lies the validation of one’s existence, or the basic right of being here and having one’s needs met for survival.
How can you support your first chakra easily, right now? We can all use a reminder that we are being held, by our bodies and by the earth. Activities that promote feelings of being grounded are beneficial to a sense of well-being. A few ideas for self-care that directly accesses first chakra balancing include:
- Wearing red or black, the colors associated with the first chakra (perhaps even painting your toenails with these grounding colors, while setting an intention for rootedness)
- Eating grounding foods, like meats (if you eat meat,) nuts, and other proteins. Root vegetables such as beets and radishes are supportive, as well. The act of mindfully preparing the food we eat tends to be a grounding experience.
- Wearing or carrying the gemstones ruby, garnet, or hematite and/or carrying any important piece of earth/rock with you in your pocket
- Taking a bath in healing mud or clay
- Burning cedar inscense
- Making art - specifically working with clay, stones, or earth
- Connecting with family - researching your family tree, hearing stories from your ancestors, finding your geographic roots (perhaps traveling to your place of birth or the land native to your family,) cooking your family recipes
- Connecting with nature - perhaps through gardening, hiking, planting a tree, collecting rocks, and laying with your back against the heavy, warm, solid, vibrant earth
- Go get a massage (a hot stone massage may specifically target first chakra imbalance)
- Make an appointment to receive a Reiki or energetic counseling session
- Mindfulness meditation
- Yoga postures: knee-to-chest pose (apanasana), chair pose (utkatasana)
- Being mindful about sitting in a grounded way, wherever you are (desk, couch, etc.) with both feet firmly planted on the floor, hip width apart and parallel to each other
Resources on the psychology of the chakra system: