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A guide to your root chakra

The root chakra is the first of the seven main chakras and needs to be in balance before we can work on balancing the other chakras. As the first of the chakras, the root chakra is closest to the earth and is therefore the most physical of our chakras. It relates to our physical body and being grounded in our bodies. It represents our life force energy and, as the most physical of our chakras, it relates to survival – so it links with our self-preservation, security, safety, natural instincts and our flight or fight response. Below is a summary of the some of the main attributes of the root chakra.

Chakra: Root (base)

Sanskrit name: Muladhara (meaning ‘root support’)

Location: Base of spine, perineum

Colour: Red

Element: Earth

Subtle body: Physical

Vowel: O

Sense: Smell

Challenge: Fear

Twinned with: Heart and crown chakras

Basic rights: To be here, to have (to have a life and be in this body)

Physical issues: Skeletal system, reproductive system in men, teeth, adrenal glands, legs, knees, feet, lower part of intestinal tract, anus

Emotional issues: Safety, survival, security, grounding, foundation/roots, stability, trust, support, self-preservation, instinct, male sexuality.

What are the signs of a healthy root chakra?

When your root chakra is healthy and in balance you feel grounded and comfortable in your body. You will generally feel healthy with good vitality. You feel safe and secure and able to relax and be still. You feel comfortable with a natural sense of belonging and you demonstrate good self-care and appropriate boundaries.

What can affect your root chakra?

When any changes or issues in our lives affect or threaten our security or survival, our root chakra can suffer. Babies who suffered birth trauma, early feeding difficulties or problems bonding with their mother may have had problems with proper development of the root chakra.

If you are facing challenges with your health, job, home or finances these may all be interpreted as a threat to your survival and there is a good chance these challenges will affect your root chakra.

If you have suffered physical, emotional or sexual abuse, abandonment, major illness or surgery you may also have root chakra issues. Any kind of lack of nurturing, abandonment, rejection, neglect, abuse or malnourishment can threaten our safety and security and can cause issues with the root chakra.

What are the symptoms of an out-of-balance root chakra?

If your root chakra is out of balance you may have trouble connecting with your body. When disconnected from our bodies our actions become routine and compulsive and we separate from the joy of being alive. Being disconnected may manifest in being unable to tell if you are warm or cold, being clumsy, restless or ungrounded, having poor circulation or feeling dizzy. You may regularly feel tired, lazy and sluggish and get easily upset or suffer from depression.

Physical manifestations of an out-of-balance root chakra are:

  • hypoglycaemia;

  • low blood pressure;

  • compromised immune system;

  • frequent illness;

  • disorders of the bowel, anus or large intestine;

  • disorders of the bones or teeth;

  • issues with feet, legs or knees;

  • issues with the base of the spine or buttocks;

  • eating disorders;

  • chronic fatigue;

  • panic attacks;

  • dizziness;

  • insomnia.

Emotional manifestations include:

  • poor focus;

  • being disorganised;

  • forgetfulness;

  • fear;

  • anxiety;

  • feeling unsafe;

  • insecurity;

  • aggression;

  • fixed, rigid ideas;

  • materialism and greed;

  • personal boundaries which are too soft/undefined or too rigid;

  • inability to make decisions;

  • not feeling good enough;

  • restlessness;

  • volatile emotions;

  • trust issues;

  • not feeling supported.

How to support and heal your root chakra

There are many ways you can help to support and heal your root chakra. As this chakra is linked to physicality and being in the body, anything that brings your focus to this will be beneficial.

Try to bring your attention to your body and physical world wherever possible – when you feel an emotion start to notice where in your body you feel the emotion. If you are nervous before a job interview, take a breath and focus on your body and where you feel the nerves. If you are angry after a fight with your partner, focus on where you feel in the fear - is it in your stomach, your throat?

Take time to exercise and really focus on how your body feels during the exercise. It is particularly useful to exercise outside as spending time in nature is also beneficial for your root chakra. Even a short walk in the woods will be helpful. It is also important to pay attention to your diet – ensuring you are eating healthy foods and reducing toxins.

There are other techniques you may wish to try:

Fragrances Using fragrances may help support the root chakra, particularly as this chakra relates to our sense of smell. You can burn fragrances in water or carrier oil in a burner, burn incense sticks or put a few drops of essential oils in your bath. Fragrances which help to calm the root chakra are cedarwood and patchouli. Fragrances that stimulate this chakra are musk, lavender and hyacinth.

Crystals If you enjoy working with crystals, there a few you can use which support the root. Try ruby, garnet, red jasper, bloodstone, onyx, smoky quartz, alexandrite, agate and tiger’s eye. You can place crystals by your bedside, under your pillow, next to your bath, on your body near your root chakra, you can carry them in your pocket or bag. Or you can sit quietly with them in your hand.

Yoga poses If you are a fan of yoga, it is an excellent form of exercise for strengthening the root chakra as during the practice of yoga we focus on the body and breath together so really connect with our bodies. Two asanas/poses which are especially supportive of the root chakra are: mountain pose and warrior pose. To see a demonstration of these asanas go to the Yoga Journal website.

Affirmations If you enjoy working with affirmations, try any of the following:

I feel grounded and connected to the earth I am safe and secure I am connected to my body I have a right to be here I have everything I need I love my body The earth supports me and my needs.

Colours Working with colour can be helpful. The main colour for the root chakra is red. If this colour feels too strong for you, can try working with browns and mauve. To work with colour you can wear red, brown or mauve clothes, eat red or brown foods, place objects around your house or workplace in these colours. You can also bring colour into your imagination and visualisation – take a few deep breaths and imagine your root chakra at the bottom of your spine opening into a red flower with many petals and imagine a lovely red colour flowing into the petals to feed it. If red feels too strong for you, you might want to start with a deep rose colour.

Touch Because the root chakra is so closely related to our physical body, using touch can help to bring healing to this chakra. Hugs can be really helpful! Also try a body massage or foot massage.

Visualisations/meditation Learning to meditate or work with visualisations can be really helpful when working with any of our chakras. Before starting any meditation or visualisation get comfortable with a straight spine and focus on your breath to calm your system down. Three useful visualisations for supporting the root chakras are:

Body scan – when you are comfortable, focus on each part of your body in turn, starting with your feet and breathe into each part, keeping your attention on each body part in turn. Work up your legs into your hips and pelvis, your abdomen, chest and up your spine. Breathe into your arms, into your shoulders and neck and up into your face and right up to your crown. As you focus on each part of your body just breathe into it, be aware of any tension, don’t try to force it to feel any different but as you breathe out visualise any tension leaving that area. You can spend as long as you like on this exercise – the longer the better! When you have finished, take a deep breath and open your eyes.

Grounding tree visualisation – when you are comfortable and have focused on your breathing, start by picturing yourself walking through a gate. On the other side of the gate is a field which you slowly walk across towards an enormous tree. When you approach the tree, feel it’s bark under your fingers and then sit with your back to the tree. Spend time here feeling the energy from the tree flooding into your back and up and down your spine. Then picture the tree’s roots going deep into the earth. Picture your own roots coming out of your feet and down into the earth, like the tree’s. Send your roots deeper and deeper and focus on feeling the energy from the centre of the earth’s core coming slowly back up into your roots and slowly filling your body. Spend as long as you can focusing on your roots and bringing this earth energy into your body. Feel the earth energy flowing around your entire body. When you have finished, walk back across the field, through the gate and bring your attention back into being in the room and open your eyes.

Mountain visualisation – when you are comfortable and have focused on your breathing, bring your attention to your body and feel it’s strength. Begin to imagine a mountain in your mind and see it take shape. See its base projecting right out from the earth and see it’s slopes and then look right up to its peak reaching high up into the sky. As you picture this mountain begin to feel yourself as the mountain. Your hips and legs are the base, your torso and arms are the slopes and your head is the peak high up in the sky. Embody the mountain and feel its strength and stability. Mountains are immovable – they remain standing throughout the seasons. Picture yourself as this strong immovable mountain – no matter what is happening around you, you are strong and your mind is still. Imagine the rains coming and use the rain to cleanse away any tension. Imagine the winds coming and use the winds to blow away any fears or blocks. Imagine the sun coming and soak in the sun to take its energy. Throughout all the seasons feel yourself staying strong and your mind being still. When you are ready, bring your attention back to your body and open your eyes.

Work on other chakras When supporting the root chakra it is sometimes also helpful to work on healing your heart chakra as these chakras are linked and also the heart chakra embodies unconditional love which can bring healing to the root.

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