With all of the heaviness and fear in the world, it's more important now than ever to have a strong sense of security and safety. A weak or deficient root chakra is ruled by fear, which inhibits our ability to reach our highest self (as fear blocks love) and to manifest in the physical plane.
Chakra translates to wheel in Sanskrit. Many cultures across the world from Native Americans to African tribes have a version of the chakra system, but the yogic tradition uses the Hindu system which recognizes seven main chakras (though there are more than 144 total), all of which align the spine and are associated with nerves, glands and organs. These energy centers are responsible for vitalizing the body and distributing prana, or life force, to the 12 meridians of the body and their associated psychological and physical functions. Over time, energetic debris is collected in the subtle body through experience and trauma, and much like a wheel can become clogged and cease to spin if a stick gets caught in the spoke, the chakras become weakened and deficient, which leads to lack of energy and vitality, sluggishness, imbalance and overall discontent.
A quick overview of the root chakra: muladhara in Sanskrit translates to 'supported base,' it's the first energy center, associated with the earth element and located in the base of the spine at the tailbone. It's the primal foundational chakra upon which all others are built and governs our sense of security, strength, stability and abundance. It's ruled by the color red and its enemy is fear. It's responsible for our overall feeling of belonging, safety and our right to be here on this earth.
If you feel physically, financially or emotionally insecure or fearful, have inherited trauma (family history of famine, war, persecution, violence e.g. Holocaust survivors), had a turbulent childhood or poor bonding with your mother, struggle with your weight, feel constantly in lack or have unresolved trust or abandonment issues, root chakra strengthening can help bring your entire energetic flow into balance.
Tools and Tips for Root Chakra Balancing:
1) Spend time in nature. Studies have shown that spending 20 minutes a day in nature can greatly improve levels of stress and anxiety and even stimulate melatonin production, which is adversely affected by too much screen time. Fluorescent lights, computers, printers, televisions, copiers, pollution and cell phones emit positive ions which can lead to headaches, low energy levels, nausea, brain fog, increased stress and anxiety and low libido. Forests, lakes, beaches, mountains, clean air, rain and waterfalls emit negative ions which balance the human body by neutralizing free radicals, enhancing immunity, soothing the nervous system and supercharging cell metabolism. Eating your lunch in a park, laying down on the ground (earthing), walking through the woods or on the beach and sitting underneath a tree are all accessible ways to incorporate the healing powers of nature into your everyday routine.
2) Wear red or bring more red into your home through decor, flowers and art.
3) Eat red foods, foods that grow in the ground and protein-rich foods all help strengthen this energy center. Some options:
4) Walk, run, skip, squat, hop or jump - the root chakra rules the bones, blood, adrenals, legs and feet and engaging the muscles in your lower extremities increases energetic flow in this center.
5) Weight train. Increasing overall strength empowers us on a physical and psychological level and does wonders to heal the root chakra. As we become stronger, so our root chakra cultivates security and stability.
6) Body Scan. So much of modern life is lived in our heads - bringing awareness to your body as a whole - all of the muscles, tendons, bones and their accompanying sensations, increases the feeling of connection to our body. Try performing a body scan every morning before getting out of bed. Start from your toes and slowly working your way up, taking note of all of the sensations you may feel, observing without judgment which areas may be holding tension or resistance and honoring your body where it is that day.
7) Garden. Digging hands into the rich soil strengthens our connection to the earth. If you live near the beach, burying hands and feet in the sand is also excellent for enhancing your bond with the earth and smoothing out any blockages of the root chakra.
8) Essential oils. Essential oils vibrate much higher than the human body and promote balance by communicating directly with the limbic system to soothe and regulate the nervous system. Patchouli has grounding energy and also helps fight body shame; cedar, vetiver, and myrrh are also good options. I like to dab a bit of patchouli on the soles of my feet when I feel my old body image issues cropping up (shop my connected blend for root chakra healing here).
9) Crystal energy. Any silver, brown, black or red crystal helps stimulate healing of this energy center. Similar to essential oils, crystals emit a constant high vibration that isn't affected by mood swings or external circumstances. Working with these crystals helps enhance feelings of strength, security, protection and connection. Check out my root chakra 'earth' set here or here for specific crystal recommendations (bloodstone, black kyanite, black tourmaline, red jasper, smoky quartz, black obsidian and shungite to name a few). Ancient Roman soldiers used to rub crushed hematite on their bodies before battle as they noticed this increased feelings of strength, endurance and stamina.
10) Get a pedicure. This center governs the feet and legs so the focused massage and attention to these areas during a pedicure helps boost energetic healing of the base chakra.
11) Face your fears. Spend some time meditating or journaling about the fears that have been holding you back (check this shadow work post for prompts). This is not an easy exercise as quite often these fears can be hard to let go of; most of us subconsciously view our fears as old friends who have kept us safe. Take some time to examine what fears you have outgrown, thank them for their protection and lovingly release them into the ether (for more information on how to do this, read this post on cord cutting.)
12) Use Affirmations. Choose a simple sentence that's easy to remember and repeat it to yourself often. Recite this to yourself whenever you feel doubt, fear and insecurity creep in or make it your screen saver!
13) Yoga. Poses that encourage connection to the earth through the tailbone or feet and legs such as easy seated pose, seated forward fold, child's pose and mountain pose all help stimulate energetic flow of the root chakra.
14) Guided Imagery. Envision a swirling disc of brilliant red light spinning smoothly in a clockwise motion at the base of your spine. Then imagine this red light spilling into your legs and feet like liquid lava, infusing the cells of your body with feelings of safety, strength, security and abundance.
15) Journal. Questions to help facilitate healing of the root chakra include:
16) Walk barefoot. Walking barefoot has been proven to improve immune function, digestion, circulation and inflammation as well as stabilize the body's biological rhythms. The direct connection of the soles of the feet to the earth stimulates strength in the root chakra.
17) Ancestral healing. Our programming is deeply ingrained in our DNA and most of our beliefs about the world and ourselves are imprinted in our subconscious by the time we are 7 years old. Examining our core beliefs and releasing those that don't actually belong to us is HUGELY liberating. Mark Wolynn's book It Didn't Start With You is a very illuminating and helpful read on the subject of ancestral healing. There are also various shamanic practices that help clear familial karma. PSYCH-K® is incredibly helpful in reprogramming subconscious beliefs that are limiting our ability to move forward or break self-destructive cycles.
Could your root use a tune-up? Which of these healing practices resonates most with you?
Happy Summer Solstice! The longest & brightest day of the year has been observed across all societies and cultures from Egyptian to English to Aztec as a a celebration of light, joy and illumination.
With so much darkness and heaviness in the world lately, now seems like a perfect time to Lighten Up!
Working with the moon phases is an accessible way to deepen our connection both to nature and to ourselves. I find that honoring these rhythms of nature can make it easier to identify, recognize and honor our own natural ebbs and flows.
During the new moon cycle, the sun and moon align with each other, merging yang energy - the heating, masculine, assertive energy of the sun, with yin energy - the cooling, feminine, receptive energy of the moon. The balancing of these two polar opposite energies in the dark sky creates a powerful invitation to both let go and start new - it's the perfect canvas for a fresh start.