What is the root chakra?

In our yoga series in Rugby, we’ve been exploring embracing the root chakra to feel firmly rooted in life, into our body and the world around us!

So in ancient Indian texts, there are subtle energy channels called “nadis.” These channels spiral and rise along the spine, giving rise to chakras or vortexes.

There are numerous contrasting and sometimes conflicting views about what chakras are, how they work, and how many there are. But today, it’s commonly accepted that there are 7 primary chakras along the spine, like subtle nerve clusters from the tailbone to the crown of the head.

Each chakra corresponds to certain nerve bundles and major organs. When all 7 energy points are spinning in harmony, we feel at ease in our body, mind and heart. The root chakra or muladhara chakra in Sanskrit is located at the base of the spine and is responsible for our sense of security and stability.

The term muladhara comes from the Sanskrit mula, meaning “root,” and adhara, meaning “support” or “base.” The first chakra is associated with the earth element, linked to your ability to dig in and feel firmly rooted in your life.

When energy is flowing through the first chakra, you feel firmly grounded in yourself and the world around you. But when it’s out of alignment, you may experience pain in your intestines and lower body, increased distractibility, rushing from one task to another, feeling exhausted or lethargic, increased feelings of anxiety, stress or depression, feeling stuck, and inability to take action.

The root chakra symbol resembles a mandala lotus and consists of 4 petals, a square, a downward-facing triangle within a square, the seed mantra LAM लं symbol in the center, and the color red. The four petals of the root chakra lotus symbolize four aspects of the human mind consciousness: manas, buddhi, chitta, and ahamkara. The square represents balance, physicality, stability, and structure. The downward triangle represents the elemental symbol for earth, a reminder of the grounding energy associated with muladhara chakra root.

The main color of the root chakra is red, symbolising primal instincts of strength and vitality. The red color is powerfully linked to our physical and emotional needs of survival and self-preservation. Associated gemstones are bloodstone, onyx, garnet, and obsidian. Ways to balance this chakra off the mat include anchoring yourself in your environment, connecting with the earth by spending time outside, walking unpaved paths, planting a garden, or keeping plants inside your home. These are all ways to form a personal connection with the earth to support a balanced and healthy root chakra.

In our classes in Houlton and Eastlands, we’ve been exploring the how to take energy up from the earth to the body through the feet and with low to the ground postures. By doing this, we’re helping our students ground themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally, and feel an increased attachment to themselves and their home.