Root Chakra Location, Color, Element and Meaning
The first Chakra [Sanskrit: Mūlādhāra, in English “Root support”] resides in the perineum. Its main colour is deep red. It is associated with the earth element. Its meaning is to serve the entire system – body, mind and spirit – as its solid foundation and ground.
Overview: Root Chakra Table
|Name||Root Chakra, Muladhara, Red Chakra, 1st Chakra, Base Chakra|
|Physical location:||In the male body – slightly inside the perineum, midway between the scrotum and the anus; in the female body – on the posterior side of the cervix.|
|Physical Systems:||Skeletal and muscular systems: spine, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles (legs and knees in particular).|
|Nerve plexus:||Sacral plexus|
|Gland:||Adrenal Gland/Suprarenal Gland|
|Energetic function:||Muladhara lies at the Root of the Chakra system and the 72,000 Nadis (energy nerves), and serves as the foundation from which all impulses of life and life’s activities rise throughout the body. Physically, it determines the strength and endurance of the body. Spiritually, it is the seat of Kundalini Shakti, the essential creative energy which its dormant aspect is the spiritual evolution of human beings.|
|Traditional Symbol:||A lotus flower with four deep crimson petals. At its core is a yellow square, symbol of the earth element.|
|Energy Body:||Annamaya Kosha (body of nourishment)|
|Day of the week:||Monday|
|Quest:||A safe ground on which one can solidly stand, a home to which one can belong – on the planet, with one’s family and within one’s body.|
|Qualities:||Instinctual trust, patience, diligence, responsibility, practicality, orderliness, efficiency, accuracy|
|Blocking Fears:||A general mistrust of life, fear of change, physical danger, disease and pain, natural disasters, physical violence and abuse, poverty, aloneness|
|Catharsis:||Trauma healing (including unconscious in-utero memories and birth traumas), shaking meditation, breathing techniques, relaxation techniques|
|Bach flowers:||Rock Rose, Mimulus, Aspen, Red Chestnut|
|Food:||Red foods, and grounding and relaxing foods, like potatoes and Root vegetables|
Root Chakra Main Function
Precisely because it is the lowest of the 7 chakras, the root chakra is of enormous importance: it is the basic foundation of both our physical life and our spiritual evolution.
The Root chakra’s main themes are security and stability. It revolves a lot around the question: “Am I safe?” The Root chakra is concerned with our primal instincts and our most basic needs like nourishment, shelter and physical security. Its connection to the skeletal system is a wonderful image of its main function: To provide basic stability, to hold and support the entire system. The Root chakra allows us to be fully embodied and stable in the midst of life’s changes.
The Root chakra provides the entire system of body, mind and spirit with a sense of general well-being. It is the foundation of a well-sustained, nourished, solid and stable system.
When the first chakra is well-established, we literally feel that we have a ground on which we can put our feet. We feel that life is trustworthy, that our life structures are reliable and that in general, we can trust life to such a degree that we can build on it brick by brick our structures – from future plans to long-term relationships to unbroken commitments.
Thus, the Root chakra is the one that determines whether our most fundamental relationship with life is positive or not.
The Open Root Chakra
A person whose Root chakra is open experiences life from a point of trust, stability and a general feeling of safety. A balanced and open Root Chakra enables a human to relax their feet on the ground, feel that it is solid and trustworthy enough, while knowing deep down – and making peace with this knowing – that nothing can last forever.
He feels well and at home in his body and this world and has developed an inner sense of security and stability, independent of the ever changing circumstances. He allows himself to flow with life’s changes because he has found stability inside himself and trusts life at a much deeper level.
Thus, such a person builds in life happily and joyfully and would establish foundations and solid structures like home, long-term relationships, steady work, a steady income, while remaining worry-free. Such a person would remain responsible, aware of consequences and of future calculations, while being flexible enough to manage and even to welcome change.
The most existential and instinctual fears, worries and anxieties, would not overshadow one’s joy and relaxation in life. On the one hand, such a person would be able to relax and enjoy in the moment, knowing that change might always wait just around the corner, and on the other hand one would confidently and steadily build into the future and strengthen one’s foundations even more. Thus, commitment and a sense of ease would complete each other in a perfect harmony.
Root Chakra psychological meaning and function
The main psychological theme of Muladhara is the sense of security and thus our most initial and instinctual reaction to unexpected changes that seem to shake the ground beneath our feet.
It is all about the question of feeling safe and trusting life: how much change can we endure, and can we trust life despite its constant changing nature? Can we let life flow and rely on it enough so that we build our structures, maintain our sense of safety while accepting its changing nature?
For example, if we have a natural disaster like a tsunami invading the peaceful life of our village, will we be able – despite the horrible impression that life can wipe away everything we built – to return to our village and build everything anew? This simple example is valid also for our relationships: can we ever trust enough to build a long-term relationship after a previous one unexpectedly broke? And can we trust our body once again after a long illness or severe injury?
Building a sense of trust, despite everything and despite the constant changing nature of life, is the main psychological theme of the Root chakra: relaxing in our own bodies, in our own home, in our own routine, while maintaining this delicate thread of knowing that no routine, no body, no home, can last forever. When we begin to wish for such a balanced perspective, our spiritual journey is first initiated.
Root Chakra Imbalance
Imbalance in Muladhara begins as early as infanthood, when we are constantly confronted with the painful realization that life’s balance and trustworthiness can be disrupted at any given moment. This is where our most initial traumas begin to be engraved within our young bodies, minds and hearts.
Such early traumas – in which we might have experienced bodily injuries, our parents’ divorce, a sudden moving from our childhood home to a foreign city, an unexpected illness, a violent attack by a bully – instilled in us a certain type of horror, making us realise that though our parents might have promised us that life would be kind towards us, this promise could be easily disrupted by the indifferent life itself.
The constant question whether our needs are going to be met with by this indifferent and rather unexpected life puts our instinctual centre in a sort of existential tension. In this state of perpetual alertness, the instinctual center keeps sending us false signals all the time, warning without any evident reason that we must essentially fear some unexpected change that is “just around the corner”.
Psychological and spiritual Symptoms of a blocked 1st Chakra
A blocked Root chakra leads to the impression, that life is unstable and unsafe and thus to an existential tension that expresses itself on all levels. This can both lead to the attempt to control life and generate a sense of security and stability on a material and social level or to the exact opposite – the inability to commit to anything at all.
The major indication of a blocked state in the Root Chakra is mind agitation caused by fear, worry and anxiety. The direct reflection of this blocked state is the constant stream of thoughts and emotions which attempts to control and manipulate the uncontrollable. This stream of thoughts and emotions is mainly caused by worry: fear that things might change in an undesired way and that one would be compelled to face unexpected turning points.
One’s mind becomes then intensely invested in trying to make sure that things will remain the same or that one is properly prepared for a change that might not even come: perhaps there would be death, accident, divorce, being fired, a disappointed audience, a negative reaction… When the mind constantly prepares for a change that might not come, this is a major indication of a blocked state.
The mind that is conditioned by a first Chakra imbalance is the mind of a “worrier” who strives to control through a mental manipulation of reality. For the first chakra in its unbalanced state, worrying would appear as a strategy of maintaining control over the uncontrollable. More severe forms of instinctual threat can be deep anxieties and even phobias.
The constant wish within the instinctual centre to ensure that no change might threaten one’s stability is the source of a wide range of anxieties. Anxieties in their mild form would appear in one’s mind as constant worrying and incessant mental agitation and irritation that keeps calculating actions and their consequences: “If I entered this commitment, wouldn’t I be exposed one day to a certain unexpected change, like divorce or being fired?”
Such a blocked state expresses itself also in one’s attempt to meditate: one tries to ease the body and the mind and to be in the presence of the moment, but the body and mind are already so conditioned by worries and wishes to control the future that relaxation feels almost impossible.
The general blockage of the Root Chakra can be described as a sense of shakiness of one’s legs that makes one cling even more to the ground, or, in other cases, try to evade it altogether. So one might try, in reaction to this worry, to hold on with all of one’s might to a sense of everlasting safety and the total denial and rejection of the element of change, or one might try to flee the physical life altogether, hoping in this way to remain unexposed to its dangers and possible agonies.
Physical Systems affected by the first Chakra
The Root Chakra has, under its dominion, the entire muscular and skeletal systems. From the legs and knees, its effect extends to the spine, joints and all ligaments and tendons.
It holds the entire structure of the body; even the way the body stands and the person holds oneself, the flexibility of movement and muscles, and the motor system in general.
Physical Symptoms of a blocked Root Chakra
Physical symptoms of a blocked Muladhara include any psychosomatic effect that the unbalanced instinctual centre creates due to its false signals of danger.
The existential tension makes the body stiff and rigid, holding itself as it were as a clenched fist. The fear to move lightly on the ground of earth, the constant watching where danger might come from, are responsible for various types of muscular tension, from neck to jaw; from pelvis to shoulders. All the different types of backache are included.
Since the body and mind become weakened, they are also exposed to difficulties in resisting and overcoming pressures and illnesses. That is why nervous tension, nervous breakdown, a weak immune system, difficulty to rehabilitate after a long illness, surgery or injury – are all possible expressions of the damaged Root Chakra.
Root Chakra Healing
The most fundamental type of meditation, which includes basic relaxation techniques, is the ultimate healing to a damaged Root Chakra. Meditation educates the instinctual centre to relax its unnecessary and conditioned reactions to situations and to possible future changes.
In addition, trauma healing is vital, since the instinctual centre stores within it all the negative impressions that are caused by its resistance to unexpected changes and turmoil in life. A key understanding in the healing process of traumas is that at the foundation of every trauma there lies an expectation that life should always be pleasant, welcoming and change-free.
More than anything else, what causes the Root Chakra to store such negative impressions forever is the expectation and less the actual events. Life could never ensure us that our existence would remain free from danger and relaxing. The presence of death at the end of the road is a clear message that our very existence on the planet is subjected to the ultimate change, in which we no longer exist. Therefore, in a trauma healing one needs to learn to accept life as a changing phenomenon and to trust it enough to enter it fully and without this expectation that creates resistance.
Any physical training which helps the physical body to relieve existential tension and to build a strong and firm standing on the ground with an erect spine, open chest and relaxed shoulders, can be beneficial in the process of healing. Methods like Chiropractic and Osteopathy that heal the tensions caused by the instinctual centre to the skeletal system can be beneficial too.
Opening the Root Chakra
Opening the Root Chakra takes place when we create in us enough space for accepting all of life’s changes without being affected by them. When we have a meditative and silent space in us that remains undisturbed and unworried, the first Chakra becomes more and more spiritual, as we add to our physical ground a spiritual ground too.
When the first Chakra becomes relaxed and meditative, the instinctual centre is covered by inner silence and peace and so, it becomes freed from the need to send false signals of danger. The person feels then that it is possible to walk on earth anxiety-free, since one’s inner being remains forever intact.
The opening of the Root Chakra is not different from the opening up of a person to one’s deepest spiritual nature. That is why opening the Root Chakra is traditionally known as the awakening of the “Kundalini” energy: the rising of the dormant spiritual presence in us. The person then realises that even in the greatest turmoil of life one can remain silent at the centre of the storm, since one understands that life by nature constantly changes and at the same time, that one’s spiritual being can remain free and untouched in all circumstances.
The first stage of opening takes place by finding this inner space through fundamental techniques of meditation. The more this inner space opens up, the greater and stronger the spiritualization process of the entire body and mind.
Root Chakra Meditation
Any relaxation technique, including guided visualisation, self-hypnosis and even meditation with a deeply calming music, can be a good starting point. All the initial meditation techniques offered by traditions of meditation – from simple Mantras to witnessing of one’s stream of thoughts – can be found beneficial. Simple forms of breathing exercises, such as basic Pranayama in the Yoga tradition, can also be a great starting point for a release in the Root Chakra.
The key-meditation is finding the space within which can remain unchanging even in the face of change. One can even ask oneself: “Where can I find in my body and mind a point, even a small one, that remains unaffected and silent?”
It is very important, however, to ensure that meditation techniques are not used only to flee life’s tensions. Remember that escapism is one of the two forms of reaction of an unbalanced Root Chakra. Here the relaxation is not meant to provide us with a haven, far away from everyday tension. On the contrary, meditation is meant to allow us to embrace change fearlessly and flexibly.
The Root Chakra can be either relaxed or agitated, silent or tense. Accordingly, it will determine the level of tension or ease in the entire body and mind system.
Its learning is fulfilled by accepting change, stopping to resist life’s nature, and locating within us a meditative core that can authentically remain the same at all times and in all circumstances.