Today I am sharing my experience with the Root Chakra and offering some simple breathing exercises to help gain a sense of security, awareness and grounding. Whether or not you “believe” in the chakra system does not matter. It can be fascinating to explore the relationship between the mind and physical body.
The Root Chakra, also known as Muladhara (in sanskrit, Mula meaning Root, Adhara meaning Support), is the first of the seven chakras. Located at the base of the spine and pelvic floor, it is said to be the most important of the chakras. Much like Maslows’ hierarchy of needs, the root balances our fundamental needs for security and connection and must be in balance before the remaining 6 chakras can be addressed. The root establishes your connection to your physical body, as well as to the literal ground beneath you.
A balanced root chakra leads to a sense of feeling secure in the world around you. You feel confident and accepting of your place in the world and know that things will work out for you.
An imbalanced root chakra, however, may lead to feelings of anger, annoyance and aggression towards people or situations in your life. You may feel the need to control, or feel resentment towards anything/anyone trying to threaten your “authority.” It may also lead you to feel a lack of confidence, a lack of motivation, and a dependence on external circumstances (people, your job, coping mechanisms) with a need to latch on to them in order to feel safe. An imbalanced root chakra may lead to feeling disconnected from the world around you and from your own physical body.
I name these symptoms because these are the ones that are most pressing in my own life.
Weight-loss/gain, over or underactive sex drive, poor immune system, anemia, depression, laziness, irratible bowel syndrome and lower back pain are all possible physical symptoms of an imbalance within the root chakra. Source. Source.
In my past, and still at times today, I would expend a great deal of energy feeling angry at the world and those things around me that, irrationally, I believe were “trying to take everything away from me.” On other days, I feel very unfocused and foggy…like I really don’t know who or what it is making my movements.
Do you ever feel a disconnect between who others see when they look at you, and the thoughts in your own brain? Sometimes I feel like these two things just do not match up.
I first began studying the chakras and implementing these grounding techniques two years ago. Since then, I have noticed a very apparent shift in my ability to feel an awareness of my body – and mind. Of course, I still have my days of absent mindedness and anger, but in general, I am more able to actually see myself in the world and literally feel my feet on the ground. Seems simple. But when you spent years wandering around like an amoeba, this can be a very beautiful feeling.
Some of these exercises are similar to those you would find in a kundalini class, but not explicitly so. Many standard Yoga Asanas (postures) are also designed to balance this chakra, and those of you who practice yoga will notice the similarities. I am not a Kundalini or Yoga instructor. I have learned these exercises through different forms of movement and body awareness teachers. If you find yourself interested, I would highly suggest finding a Kundalini class. Just be prepared to do a lot of kegels…
Through every exercise, it is important to implement the basic breathing techniques described in Part 2. These exercises are not necessarily a “sequence.” They can be done individually – for even a few minutes – or for longer periods of time in any order.
You may begin simply with finding your breathe as described in part 2. Either standing (in mountain pose) or lying on your back (savasana), release through the exhale with an open throat and relaxed jaw, imagining your back (if lying) or feet (if standing) slowly melting into the ground beneath you. You should feel cool air on the back of your throat as you inhale, and warm air rising up and through as you exhale. If you’d like, you may put a hand in front of your mouth to feel the warm air. Let every exhale finish entirely before feeling the natural impulse to inhale.
If standing, make sure your feet are hip distance apart, knees slightly bent, and your pelvis slightly angled forward, resting ontop of your hips. Ensure you are not arching your lower back.
After a minute or two, begin exhaling on a voiced “zzz.” Focus on feeling a vibration of resonance in your pelvic floor or under your feet. Continue for at least 2 minutes, or as long as you would like.
Ladies, I wasn’t kidding. Kegel exercises are the most powerful exercise for energizing the muscles of the root chakra, thus allowing the energy flow to pass through.
Sit on the ground, right ontop of your sitting bones, with your feet together and knees apart (butterfly position). Exhale all the breathe from your body while squeezing all the lowest muscles in the groin. Do not take another breath until you need to, and keep squeezing. When you inhale, relax all the lower muscles. Repeat at least three times.
This exercise can be extremely energizing, but may also bring up new emotions or sensations: such as anger and frustration. Just keep with it and focus on the exhale. I personally cannot do this for very long. I once did a kundalini class that was about 45 minutes of these kegel holds. I left that class feeling… mm… stimulated?
Lie on your back with your knees bent up to the ceiling. Slowly – beginning with the very base of your tailbone – begin to lift your spine off of the ground, one vertebrae at a time. Continue to lift until your pelvis is pointed to the ceiling, your shoulders and neck still on the floor. Inhale through your mouth as you lift, release through the exhale as you slowly return each vertebrae to the floor. Repeat 5-10 times.
Sit on your sit bones, either in butterfly position as described above or with your legs apart, knees bent up to the ceiling and feet on the ground in front of you. If in butterfly, place your hands on your ankles. If your legs are apart, place your hands on your knees. Inhale through the mouth as you flex your spine forward, lifting the chest and head slightly, opening the hip socket. Exhale as you return your spine backwards, creating a slight curve in the spine and rolling off the sitting bones. Repeat several times. Begin to speed up, continuing to match your inhale and exhale with each quickening rocking motion. You may expel an audible exhale.
Lying on your back, lift the soles of your feet up the ceiling, knees bent at 90 degree angles. Catch the outside of your feet with your hands. You may rock slightly from side to side. Simply stay here, eyes closed, focusing on very low and deep inhales and exhales through the mouth. Imagine the breathe going right down into the pelvis. You should feel very open in this area. This is my favorite position for lowering my breathe and invigorating a sense of grounding.
If you find the Happy Baby position difficult or uncomfortable, the same effect can be made by resting in a squat position. With your feet hip distance apart, bend your knees and lower your bottom toward the ground. Rest your elbows inside your knees and press outward slightly (your hands may be in prayer position). Perform the same focused open mouth breathing here.
Once finished with any or all exercises, finish by standing in mountain pose once again. Feel your feet on the floor. Notice how you feel. Are you more aware of your pelvic floor? Are you energized? Tingly? Awake? Do you feel more confident than when you began?
The Root chakra is the most physical. This means that any activity that makes one more aware of the body will strengthen this chakra, and the most powerful pathway to body awareness is through the pelvic muscles. This is also why these exercises have a slightly more aerobic quality to them.
When your root chakra is balanced, you have energy and self-confidence rather than resentment or fear. You feel calm, centered and ready for what life brings. What I have noticed the most is how I present myself to others. I am more present and feel as if I act and speak from a truly authentic place. You have this faith – even if just a little spark in your belly – that things really are going to be okay.Use your breathe to find awareness and grounding. #rootchakra Click To Tweet
Do you ever feel disconnected from your body? Do you ever feel like your physical presence and thoughts are coming from two different beings?
Do any of the imbalanced root chakra symptoms speak to you?
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