Feel Grounded & Secure: Awakening Muladhara Chakra

Mūla = Root, Origin, Essence

Ādhāra = Basis, Foundation

Located at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor and the first three vertebrae The muladhara chakraor ‘root’ chakra represents our foundation. It is the first of seven chakras, and many believe it to be the most important, as balancing this chakra creates a secure foundation that allows us to work on the six that lie above it.

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Muladhara chakra is also known as mula bandha, the root lock. This is because of it’s position in the body and in relation to the other chakras. To explain how it works, I like to visualise that the body is like a funnel. Imagine water running through a funnel, as water enters from the top it simultaneously drains out of the bottom. However if you block the bottom then the funnel fills up and stays full. The funnel is your body, and the water is prana, the vital life force. Balancing muladhara chakra is like putting a plug in the base of your body, keeping energy in the trunk and preventing it from ‘leaking’ out.  This helps us to be more efficient and conserves prana for all the chakras. When we want to work on a particular chakra we call on that safely stored prana and use it to re-balance desired areas through pranayama and asana. 

As well as the energetic properties associated with muladhara chakra, it equally carries a number of emotional properties that take an affect on our mood and general wellbeing. The root chakra is linked to survival, as such it concerns the basic needs such as shelter, food, water, money. When your muladhara chakra is balanced, you will feel secure and safe. Often those who travel regularly will benefit from balancing this chakra as rewards with a feeling of grounding and belonging. It is advisable to do work on this chakra when faced with a big life change, be it in the body (e.g. menopause), in the family (death), in finances, or indeed in business. Working on this chakra will bring you back to your body and the earth and help you experience safety, security, and stillness.

Muladhara-Chakra
So how do we balance this chakra? Through pranayama and asana. As this is the lowermost chakra in the body, a lot of the physical practice uses the lower half of the body, opening the muscles that surround the root lock in order to strengthen. As such, we practice a lot of calf openers, hamstring stretches, and standing poses to help open the lower body and root attention downward. If you’ve ever heard the expression root to rise, this is where it comes from. In order to grow and blossom in anything in our lives, we must first strengthen our foundation and connect deeper to the earth and our surroundings. Muladhara chakra helps us to achieve exactly that.
Try this pranayama breathing exercise to start balancing your root chakra:
  • Start sitting in a comfortable cross legged position and feel the connection of both sit bones into the earth
  • Draw up through the spine and roll your shoulders up and back, place the palms flat on top of the knees
  • Breath freely in and out of the nose for 20 breaths, each time adding length to the inhale and the exhale
  • Then as you exhale draw up through the pelvic floor muscles, squeezing the entire perineal region—front, middle, and back—inward and upward. As you inhale, release completely. Continue this cycle for 20 breaths.

Once you’ve had a go at the breathing exercise, move through this grounding poses with Adriene all of which help to balance Muladhara chakra: 

If you’d like to try a slightly longer 1st chakra flow, here’s one that I taught in class, feel free to follow all the postures or select those that you feel like:

  • Sukahasana, interlace fingers palms push upwards, root to rise. Take 10 full breaths
  • Cat/Cow, move slowly, close the eyes and focus on the breath. 10 full breaths, initiatiing the movement from the base of the spine
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog), feel the ground through your palms, the earth supporting your posture. Walk the feet in so your heels connect to the earth, push deeply into the palms and open the hamstrings. 5 breaths
  • Uttanasana , 5 breaths rock the head ‘yes’ and ‘no’
  • Tadasanaclose your eyes and feel the earth beneath your feet, engage perineal muscles as you exhale. 5 breaths. Keeping your eyes closed start to stomp your feet on the ground, feel the earth beneath you and then come back to stillness
  • Utkatasana / chair pose, 3 breaths, then inhale into Divers Pose (like a static swan dive, keep your hands lifting toward the ceiling and take your chest down, come up onto the soles of your feet and balance, look forward), exhale back into chair pose. Repeat 4 times
  • Step back to High Lunge, as you exhale roll the upper body forward over your bent knee, reach the arms away from you and strengthen the back leg by grounding down through the heel,  inhale lift back up into crescent position. Repeat  4 times
  • Surya Namascar A then repeat the above on the other side
  • Goddess Pose, really engage your pelvic floor here and feel the root down through your feet, take 10 breaths
  • Prasarita Padottanasanadraw up through the kneecaps here to release the hamstrings. 20 breaths, each exhale takes you a little deeper into the ground, the head lengthens towards the floor
  • Vrkasana / tree pose, root to rise here really grounding through the standing foot and visualising roots travelling down into the earth and supporting you. Take 10 breaths on each side and turn the corners of the lips up into a smile
  • Malasanaengage the perineal muscles as you exhale. Take 10 breaths
  • Janu Sirasanatry to get the heel as close to the groin as possible, when it connects with this region it helps engage the root lock. Take 10 breaths on each side, each inhale turning the chest towards the sky, each exhale reaching deeper with the lifted arm
  • Supta Baddha Konasana, 10 breaths pulling up through the pelvic floor on each exhale and holding for 5 seconds at the end of the exhale before releasing and taking an inhale
  • Savasanaoptional mantra: “I am secure, I am grounded” 

If you enjoyed this blog post, why not check out my next one on the second chakra, svadhisthana,  the creative and sensual chakra. Namaste 🏻😍

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