The root chakra is considered the first of the seven-chakra system. Some believe it is located at the base of the spine as the foundation of your body, the root of your being and the core of your sense of safety. In this seven-chakra system, your root chakra, or Muladhara, extends from the base of your spine, encompassing your lowest three vertebrae.
In Sanskrit, the original language of Tantric Yoga, the root chakra is known as Muladhara. This is a composite word, using “mula” which means “root” and “adhara” which means “support”.
While the ancient Tantric yoga philosophies vary widely in the number of chakras involved, most include a variation of the Muladhara or the base of your body’s physical energy system. The original Sanskrit identifies it less as a specific place and more as part of a yoga practice to stimulate and balance that energy center, says Sanskrit scholar Christopher Wallis. In Kundalini yoga, this is the site of the beginning of kundalini awakening. It has also been considered the locale of the “red bindu” that rises to merge with the “white bindu”, uniting female and male, Shiva and Shakti.
Traditional Chinese medicine also relates to modern-day chakra practices, with Qi energy flowing from the base of your spine or the root chakra, to your head and back down in your body’s circulation of energy.
In this blog, we focus on the Western, New Age esoteric version of the seven-chakra system and all of its implications, associations, symptoms and balancing practices.
The Chopra Center describes the root chakra as being your survival center, the core of your feeling of safety, grounding, and stability. In modern-day subtle bodywork, Muladhara is associated with the color red, the element of earth and a four-petaled lotus flower.
At its location at the base of your spine, this root chakra is the foundation of your emotional and physical safety and the basis of your identity. Many believe that the balance of this chakra relates to early childhood and how well your needs were met by your primary caregivers.
As this is the centre of your safety, identity, and foundation, the emotional manifestations of this chakra often relate to trust and courage. Physically, the chakra is associated with the skeletal structure, the large intestine, blood and especially your lower back, pelvis and lower legs.
Aromas that appeal to this Muladhara are earthy in nature, including scents such as frankincense, myrrh, cedar, and cypress.
Muladhara is related to your adrenal system. As your adrenal glands control your survival’s fight-or-flight response, it’s only fitting that the root chakra is the seat of this important function.
Imbalanced Root Chakras
An imbalance in your root chakra can mean that your Muladhara is overstimulated or underactive. Often, this imbalance is evidenced by physical and emotional issues. Here’s an overview of some of the manifestations of an imbalanced root chakra:
Underactive Root Chakra
If your Muladhara is underactive, you may experience a variety of emotional, spiritual and physical symptoms, including:
- a feeling of being disconnected from the world or your own physical body
- lack of energy or motivation
- lower-body swelling
- overeating or craving comfort food
- elevated anxiety about finances, job security, stability and a host of other issues
- leg circulation problems
Overactive Root Chakra
A root chakra that dominates other chakras or is simply too active for your subtle body’s energy system may manifest in a variety of symptoms, including:
- the urge to act aggressively or dominate
- impulsive behavior
- greed and materialism
- fear of change
- irrational anger
- feeling immobilised or stuck
Balancing Your Root Chakra
As the foundation for your physical body and the other ascending chakras and kundalini, a balanced Muladhara is important. An imbalance here can cause a domino effect in destabilising some or all of your other chakras.
There are many ways you can work to restore your root chakra and awaken kundalini.
- Meditate to ground yourself. You can use aromatherapy oils in a favorite diffuser or burner to enhance your meditation. The essential oils most associated with the root chakra include cedar, frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, vetiver, and ylang-ylang.
- Include Muladhara-related poses during your yoga practice, including pavanamuktasana and Malasana. Kegel exercises for women are also effective. As with meditation, some yogis prefer to use aromatherapy during their asanas to amplify the effects.
- Start reconnecting with nature by gardening, taking a nature walk, visit a farmer’s market and eat red foods like strawberries and apples or root vegetables like potatoes.
- Add healing stones or crystals to your routine by placing a red jasper, hematite, garnet or ruby stone on your pelvis while you meditate.