The next seven months will be dedicated to the study of each of the seven chakras. Chakras are centers of prana (energy, life force) that align down the spine and correspond to vital points in the physical body, including nerve endings, arteries, and major organs. Brush up on the meaning of the seven main chakras here, and take this quiz to find out which of your chakras are under-active, overactive, and which are perfectly, beautifully balanced.
Working with the energetic body can be a highly mysterious, highly rewarding experience. When you integrate an energetic practice with your physical yoga practice, a deeper understanding of Self will come to you. The union of the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional bodies (which, lest we forget, is the true essence of yoga) is our objective; unblocking stuck, stagnant energy is the method.
Starting with Muladhara Chakra, or the Root Chakra, makes sense. We’re working from the ground up, instilling a strong, stable foundation, a connection to the earth. Muladhara is all about rooting and is associated with our basic needs for survival: food, water, shelter, family, and the material world. Muladhara governs our relationship to our physical body and its issues, and on a very archaic level, our territorial needs.
At its best, a balanced Muladhara Chakra gives us feelings of being grounded, confident, secure, and able to sufficiently relate to others without feeling threatened. You trust others and yourself, but have a strong sense of realism and discernment. You live in the present and have a wide field of perception. You’re earthy.
An under-active Muladhara might lead to feeling insecure, nervous, full of anxiety. You live in your head and let thoughts, memories and feelings (particularly negative ones) overwhelm you.
An overactive Muladhara creates greed, selfishness, and materialistic tendencies. The mind gets obsessive about possessions and keeping staying secure, particularly financially. Even though you have a strong sense of self and your place in the world, you might not be grounded enough to take responsibility for your actions.
So how do you work with Muladhara to balance it out? On a practical, physical level, focus on standing asanas in your yoga practice, particularly poses like Tree, the Warriors, High Lunge, and Triangle, all of which require a strong foundation in the legs and hips.
When meditating, visualize red, Muladhara’s healing color. Draw your focus to your tailbone, the base of your spine, and see that pulsating wheel of vivid red. Also visualize the element earth, and think of heavy forms of earth: clay, lava, and coarse, nutrient-rich dirt. Think of the very best aspects of earth: grounding, strengthening, focus, dignity, trust, balance. Manifest these qualities in your yoga practice, then take them off your mat and into your life.