When I started doing chakra work, I did’t really understand the enormity of what a chakra was or did.
What the f*ck is a chakra, anyway? Honestly, I thought they were New Age mumbo jumbo, which at the time, I judged harshly. I was closed-minded and hurting, what can I say?
Chakras are energetic centers within the body. The simplest explanation I offer is this: think of them as a spinning wheels of energy that govern the state of balance within us. They govern emotions, behaviors, physical organs and body parts. Think of them as the place where our three bodies (physical, emotional, spiritual) meet and communicate.
For a long time, I was so attached to my physical body as my identity that I didn’t realize how much more to me there was beneath the surface.
Come to find out, chakra knowledge is ancient as Sanskrit and yoga. When I started studying the chakras, it was like I was suddenly remembering information I already knew. It just made sense. I felt that deep inside, I already knew it. It seemed as though my studies were just refreshing it. This could be because I am an old soul, or it could simply be connection to the Collective Consciousness, which knows all.
None of that matters, though. What matters is this: I started doing chakra work and healing, and I saw profound changes within myself and my behavior. My overall state of balance was vastly improved. Health problems, emotional disorders, addiction issues and obsessive thinking patterns were all markedly lessened.
It is for this reason that I encourage everyone seeking balance of mind, body and soul to incorporate chakra work into their practice. Yoga and meditation practice vastly amplifies chakra work, and vice versa.
For this reason I have created a simple beginners guide to this, which I will share separately, chakra by chakra. We will discuss each chakra, its location, purpose, jobs, and characteristics. Keep in mind that, as these are energetic centers, they can be imbalanced in many ways—under-active, over-active, blocked or wide open. We will discuss how these imbalances manifest.
We begin with the Muladhara Chakra, or the Root Chakra. This is the foundation point of all of our spiritual development.
When to work with Muladhara: you feel spaced out and disconnected, you feel fearful and don’t know why, you feel stuck in life, you experience disharmony and difficulties with work or relationships, or you have any unhealed traumas.
Muladhara is located at the base of our spinal column, the place where we meet the ground when sitting on our butts. This is the center of Kundalini. Its color is red, the color of energy and vitality. It is our root to the Earth. Yogic thought often teaches the importance of balancing this chakra, as it is where feelings of safety and security come from.
The principles of Muladhara are pride and ego, and its characteristics include laziness and passion. Under- and over-active imbalances here can cause closed-mindedness, inability to consider spiritual life, aggressiveness, egotistical behaviors, control issues, insecurity and/or anxiety, to name a few. Positive aspects are creativity and awakening of hidden abilities. (mine have blossomed since working with chakras). Negative aspects are unconsciousness and ignorance.
Muldhara governs the elimination and waste organs, the nose and sense of smell (ironic), and the bones. The glands associated with this center are the gonads. Problems like blockages, constipation, kidney issues, that are related to these physical systems can be the result of energetic chakra imbalances. Mental and emotional manifestations can be depression, anxiety, inability to focus, spaciness, feelings of being stuck, and inability to take action. It is linked to feelings about your physical body, feelings of security with yourself and others, and basic needs.
This chakra’s element is Earth, its sense smell, and its planet Mars. The mudra joins the index finger with the thumb, in an “O” shape, with the other three fingers pointing out. The top of the hands should be turned toward the floor.
To begin a chakra meditation practice, start simple:
- Sit down cross-legged, or lie down.
- Start your breath work to become still and present. If you use stones, black onyx, aragonite, red jasper are great for grounding. Red and brown stones will resonate here.
- Begin to focus and visualize your breath traveling to the base of your spine, as you picture the color red.
- Take at least five deep, cleaning breaths that you send to your chakra. Breathe in slowly to 10, hold for 10, breathe out slowly for 10. (Start with five seconds if needed.)
- As you breathe, picture the breath cleansing your chakra. Picture the spinning disc of red energy, glowing cleaner and brighter with each breath you take.
- Use a mantra as you breathe in and out. “I am safe. I am here. My body is strong. I am open.” “I draw strength from the Earth.” “I am right where I need to be.”
- Picture a strong tree growing tall with its roots deep in the Earth, that it may weather any storms. Feel the tree. Be the tree.
- Flow through yoga asanas geared towards this chakra—Sukhasana (sitting upright, rooted to Earth), Blasana (Child’s Pose), Ardha Hanumasana (Half Split), Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side-Angle Pose), Malasana (Squat Pose). Don’t rush through but rather practice the asanas, to build your feelings of stability and strength in them.
The goal of working with Muladhara energy is to connect with the Earth, overcome insecurity and anxieties, and to feel comfortable in our body. You will notice, as you balance this energy, you will feel more secure, grounded, and open, releasing yourself from the negative beliefs that you have held; you will become more reliable and insightful.
Keep in mind, this is meant to be a beginner practice. Chakra work is something that goes deep within, tapping into an infinite source of ancient connectivity. If you quiet yourself, your chakra will tell you what it needs. Believe it or not, they will work to heal themselves once you start giving them the energy and attention to do so.
Many of our problems occur because, like a wheel, one spoke out of alignment results in a flat tire. When all chakras are open and running in a balanced state we find harmony within our mind, body and soul. Remember—have fun!
I would love to answer any questions or comments below! I look forward to hearing about your chakra work.
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editor: Emily Bartran