Exploring the Chakras Part 1: The Root

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Since the dawn of time, we humans have tried to understand, categorize, and explain what we know intuitively to be energetic or spiritual in origin. Our energy fields are complex and fascinating, and one of the most well-known descriptions of it is that of the chakra system. This interpretation shows us that there are seven energy centers in the body, each containing its own symbolism, archetypes, patterns, and associations. Over the past few weeks, we have explored the idea of what it’s like to open and clear our chakras, and thanks to the wonderful feedback I’ve received, I wanted to do a series of blogs on all seven centers in our chakra system. As we play and investigate the energy of each one, I wanted to take the time to go in depth on what they mean, how we can nourish them, and how they influence and guide our experiences.

This past week, we experimented with unwinding our first chakra, the root. So let’s dig in to what this beautiful energy center has to say!

The root chakra, called the Muladhara in Sanskrit (from the words Mula, meaning “root” and Adhara, meaning “base” or “support”), is located at the base of our spine, in our pelvic floor. It is related to our sense of belonging and connection in the world around us, and is considered to be the most primal and ancient of the chakras. The root forms our energetic base, and is related to our most primitive needs like food, shelter, security, and tribal association. Our first chakra is what we build upon as we grow up from infancy, and a solid root chakra is necessary for a balanced, grounded, and empowered life.

  • Color: red
  • Physical associations: spine and skeletal system, legs, feet, colon, bladder, prostate
  • Emotional associations: survival issues, fears about resources (food, money, etc…), loneliness, trust, obsessive disorders, control issues, security
  • Sense: smell
  • Mantra: “Lam”
  • Element: earth

According to Caroline Myss’s model of the chakras, each of our chakras comes with a sacred truth. She states that the root chakra illuminates the truth that “all is one”, showing that we are all connected- there is no separation. Our every thought and action affects the entire world around us.

Out of the seven bodily chakras, the first three are chakras of matter, meaning that they are related to the physical realm. And since our root forms the base of the chakras, it is the one most deeply connected to the tangible, and our sense of being grounded in this earthly experience. The first chakra is all about what we need to feel safe and secure, so you can imagine that this is a very important place to begin, as we balance and open our energy system!

In the Munay-Ki tradition, there are four main archetypes that are embedded in our chakra system, and the root is most closely associated with that of the serpent. In this sacred tradition, the serpent symbolizes knowledge, healing, and sexuality, a universal archetype of our connection to Earth Mother, and our ability to heal thanks to her wisdom. The serpent teaches us to shed our past the way she sheds her skin so we may walk with beauty, in harmony with the Earth.

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Over the past week, I’ve asked many of you to play with the technique of unwinding your root chakra, and I’m thrilled to see so many amazing responses. Here is a sampling of what some of you have shared:

“The last few days I have felt grounded and calm. My anxiety has been low and I have the sense that everything is going to be okay, which I always know cognitively, but don’t always feel.”

“I felt pressure and a nice release of tension in my chakra while unwinding. The stillness felt peaceful and calm.”

“The last few days have been really nice. I’ve felt more confident and optimistic than usual.”

"I definitely felt the energy in my hands which surprised me. I felt more powerful immediately after the process. I had the sensation of reclaiming my energy and finding my old self. I was more cognizant of my power and strength."

“The unwinding process was pretty subtle, but once that still point was reached, I felt a kind of energetic discomfort, a kind of vulnerability. I know it was related to the root’s elements of security, belonging, and safety, so I was able to relax and see it for what it was. After a moment in this uncomfortable openness, suddenly everything softened and expanded, and I knew I had reconnected with the truth of Universal connection. I felt calm and confidence while winding the chakra back up.”

One of my clients, who experienced this unwinding process on my table, noted that she felt her body relaxing as we unwound her chakras (we did both the 1st and 2nd), and that she stayed quiet in the stillness and expansion. After her session, however, she noticed that she could feel a new coolness, “like menthol”, in both of her chakras, and that she could feel her inflammation dissipate. She mentioned that a phrase from one of her favorite books, “Anne of Green Gables” came to mind, the “thrill of anticipation.”

I also did the exercise, and I felt a release of tension during the unwinding of my root chakra. Once it was open and still, I could picture the metaphor of a merry-go-round (which you can revisit here). As the chakra was unwinding, figures on the outer ring were jumping off. I didn’t get a clear sense of what they represented. Once still, I could see three figures on the very inside, wrapped around the pole. As I asked for clarification of who/what they represented, and I sensed that they represented “rescuer-perpetrator-victim”. The rescuer stepped off first. Then the perpetrator-victim joined hands, stepped off the wheel and merged into a single figure. Then, that figure merged with the rescuer until there was only a single figure – ME – that became the center of the wheel. Then it felt time to spin my root chakra back up.

I’m excited to continue this journey through the chakras, and hear your feedback as we move up and unwind each one. I know that this exercise, along with learning about the chakra system, is incredibly valuable for healing, balance, and self-exploration. Join the mailing list, so you can join in on the chakra-unwinding fun, and stay tuned for my next blog, as I delve into the sacral chakra!