Ever since last spring, life has seemingly been anything but “normal.” Many routines were uprooted and fear took center stage. If you’re like me, you might have been feeling anxious, ungrounded, and unbalanced. Now that it’s almost a year later, I have learned that I still can’t control any external situation/circumstance. Furthermore, hopelessly waiting for something to miraculously end all of my perceived problems turned out to be futile. So I tapped back into my amateur love of chakras and dedicated intentional time towards practices that balanced and strengthened my root chakra.
The root chakra (Muladhara) is the first major chakra located at the base of our spines. It governs our survival and security instincts. Its color is red, and it’s the most important chakra since it also governs our connection to the physical world. Without a balanced root chakra, all the other chakras suffer. Think about a tree—if a tree’s roots aren’t healthy and receiving nutrients from the soil properly, wouldn’t the limbs of the tree suffer too? How can the rest of the tree bear fruit and flowers if it’s compromised at its roots, unable to take in nourishment?
Signs of an imbalanced root chakra:
- too overly focused/hypervigilant
- resistant to change
- low energy
- anxiety surrounding housing/living situation
- insecurities (especially about finances)
- trust issues
- always needing control/dominance
Each chakra can be overactive or underactive, but those experiencing any of the signs previously mentioned have a passive, or deficient, root chakra. This means that not enough energy is feeding your roots. And since our bodies want to support us, even at our own detriment sometimes, the symptoms of an underactive root chakra are simply just mechanisms of protection. It’s up to you to work on bringing balance and harmony into these energy centers. Here are some ways you can do that.
Whenever I lead a yoga class, I love diving deep into the root analogy during tree pose. It’s a great way to really visualize yourself physically grounding through the soles of your feet and finding that inner balance. Also try child’s pose, mountain pose and malasana (known as yoga squat). These will help bring you closer to the ground and allow your body to root itself into the earth.
Besides yoga, moving your body in various forms is a great way to strengthen the root chakra. Allowing your body to organically flow, maybe even with some chanting music in the background, is very primal and taps into the fire within is. It doesn’t have to be a structured form of exercise, just anything that will get you off your feet and moving all of your limbs.
As with movement, earthing (also known as grounding) is a practice to tap into our roots, both literally and metaphysically. By walking with bare feet on the earth, we reconnect all the sensitive nerve endings of our feet to nature. There’s been more research done on this proving just how earthing helps significantly reduce inflammation in the body. Read the book Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever! by Clint Ober for more amazing benefits to walking barefoot.
Spending even just a couple minutes a day bringing mindfulness to your root chakra can be very soothing. Try focusing on a red ball of energy over your root chakra. Imagine, in your minds’ eye, the red ball getting brighter and clearer with every deep inhale, and then with every exhale, blow out any gray matter that feels heavy and dense. Keep breathing until there’s no more grayness, or a feeling of dullness coming from your hip/pelvic area. There are many different types of chakra clearing/cleansing meditations for free to experiment with on YouTube as well.
I’m a sucker for baths, especially when I’m feeling extra drained. Grab some Epsom salts, magnesium flakes, and/or Himalayan salt and add it into your bath. Or find a red bath bomb to bring some color therapy into your spa routine. These elements have a very grounding quality, and possess healing benefits like increasing circulation, relieving muscle aches/cramps, promoting deeper sleep, and helping to eliminate toxins from the body.
Eat Grounding Foods
Any whole, plant-based food that come directly from the earth is a grounding food. Eat these in quantity, and quality, meaning organic and non-GMO. Foods such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, garlic, squash, potatoes, beets, carrots, and onion will nourish your body and help strengthen your root chakra. No wonder most of these nutrient-dense foods are called “root” vegetables!
A gratitude practice has so many benefits that I could write a whole book on this one practice alone. If you don’t have time for any of the other things mentioned above, just spend everyday writing at least 5 things you are grateful for. It can be the simplest, or even the silliest things. And don’t just think it, but write it out on paper so that your conscious mind can manifest that which you attract. The more grateful you are, the more gratitude you’ll attract into your life.
With unforeseen events weighing down our past and clouding our future, it’s crucial now more than ever to maintain inner balance. Tending to your root chakra is important for overall mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Just as taking a shower every day to cleanse our bodies and maintain our physical health is the norm, so should regularly cleansing our chakras be. Energy maintenance, in my opinion, is just as important for staying healthy and sane as all the other things we do for ourselves. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed and all over the place, try these practices and notice the benefits. Imagine your body is a plant that’s in need of some love. What would you do to take care of the plant? How would you help it grow? What does its roots need to thrive?
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Photo: txell.valles via Flickr; parthsachdeva9 via Flickr