GloForward Feature: Root Chakra
Grounding in Trust: Discover the Root Chakra
by Erika Mehiel
April 2, 2021
If there’s one thing we can take for granted, it’s C H A N G E.
Knowing this intellectually is helpful; but being emotionally and energetically comfortable with moving through change? Not always easy.
As we navigate midlife, we inevitably bump up against our own particular challenges, peer into our personal unknowns, and stand on the thresholds of our new and next chapters.
Daunted? Excited? Feeling capable? Feeling like hiding under the covers? All of the above? According to Yogic Philosophy, staying grounded in the face of uncertainty has everything to do with whether our Root Chakra is balanced and strong.
The Root Chakra, called Muladhara in Sanskrit, is the foundation of the Chakra system and the base of our personal and spiritual development. The word Muladhara translates as basic needs, “Root Support” or foundation. Just like all plant life on earth, we need a healthy root in order to live and thrive. Represented visually as a four-petaled lotus or a spinning vortex of energy located at the pelvic floor, this energetic power center is where we begin our Chakra Journey.
Trust vs. Mistrust – Establishing Core Beliefs
Muladhara is associated with early childhood development and basic survival needs such as food, shelter and love. Perhaps we experienced warmth, nourishment, caring and connection as children; perhaps we experienced neglect and fear. Most likely, we experienced some combination.
These early experiences contribute to a deeply visceral sense of “Trust vs. Mistrust” or, a feeling of “I am and I will be OK” vs “I am not ok, and things are not ok.” Our subsequent life experiences add to these core beliefs – every break up or job change might slightly undermine our trust or “OK-ness,” every success empowering us and fortifying our confidence and self-reliance.
As we consider where we fall on the spectrum of Trust vs. Mistrust, chances are it isn’t a fixed point. In truth, whether we generally feel insecure or super confident, it can be incredibly empowering and beneficial to re-fortify our foundations in order to GloForward with ease.
Root to Rise – Tools for Empowerment
Yoga gives us some very accessible and effective tools for doing just this. ALL of these methods will serve you. The “right” one? The one(s) that resonates with you and that you’ll actually do! The one(s) that feels interesting and beneficial.
Muladhara is associated with the Earth Element. All foundations rest on the Earth; solid and secure, Mother Earth is a source of nourishment and stability. What is our relationship with the Earth?
Without grounding we are unstable, lose our center, fly off the handle, get swept off our feet, or daydream in a fantasy world with no containment. Resting on the ground we cannot fall. We are safe. If we don’t have a strong base, everything that’s build on top of it can be shaky, undermined, unstable.
Earth Element is represented by the color Red, or the Sanskrit mantra LAM.
Muladhara is associated with our pelvic floor, our physical bodies, strength and stamina, and also our sciatic nerve — which is considered the “root” of the nervous system running from the base of our spine through the hips, down the legs and into the feet.
Practice: Elemental & Physical
Among the most potent and accessible Yoga practices to facilitate grounding and power in Muladhara are Restorative Yoga (literally, resting on the ground with a lot of support) or postures that strengthen our legs, hips and connection to the earth.
Energetically, Emotionally and Psychologically
Muladhara is associated with Nourishment, Prosperity and our Home & History.
Consider the following supportive reflections and practices:
What is my relationship to food?
Do I nourish myself just to survive or as a form of self-care?
How does food entwine with my emotions?
Do I over/under eat?
Do I have healthy or imbalanced habits?
How do I nourish myself in ways unrelated to food?
What is my relationship to success?
Do I over- or under-strive?
Do I have what I need?
How much is enough?
What is my relationship to abundance?
Do I value myself and acknowledge my needs?
Home & History:
What is my origin story?
Who are my ancestors?
Am I in touch with/proud of/ashamed of/disconnected from my past?
What is my home-life like?
How do I care for my home?
Where do I feel most at home?
Where do I feel most comfortable?
Keep a food journal for a week and examine HOW you care for yourself with food.
Cook yourself or treat yourself to your favorite dish.
Practice mindful eating without the distractions of work or screens.
Light a candle, make it special!
Write a gratitude list acknowledging your blessings large and small.
Create an altar or vision board to invite abundance into your life.
Give yourself a day off.
Home & History:
Look through some old photos & notice what feelings arise.
Clean/reorganize a spot in your house that desperately needs it!
Create/refresh your sacred space, get yourself flowers, light a candle, buy a new plush throw blanket, diffuse some essential oils & GET COMFY.
Write a letter to a parent or ancestor about your history or origin story, let yourself express what needs to be expressed, then keep it/burn it/place it on your altar.
Affirmations are a quick and effective way to restore energetic balance to our Chakra centers. There is power in our words and thoughts, and the data on affirmations is well documented. Repeat any or all of phrases at any time during the day or night – when you’re feeling stressed/out of whack, when you’re on line at the store, when you’re walking or driving. Or choose your favorite and leave sticky notes on your mirror or desk as little touchstones.
I have the right to be here now.
I am safe and secure.
I face challenges and change from a place of grounding and ease.
I love myself. I love to nourish myself.
I have all that I need/I ask for what I need/I can meet all of my needs.
I am strong, stable and at peace.
Sanskrit Vibrational Sound: Repeat or sing to yourself the word LAM
Midlife can present challenges, with shifting self-perceptions, hormonal imbalances and major life changes. It is the perfect time fortify our Root by honoring our foundational needs and acknowledging our capacity to meet those needs and care for ourselves.
While it is certain we will face challenge and change, we proactively prepare by cultivating the tools and practices to establish grounding, resilience and inherent strength.
Erika is an ERYT-500 certified Yoga Educator and YACEP. She is passionate about an elemental approach to wellness and an inquiry-based approach to the practice of yoga. After practicing yoga for over a decade, Erika pursued her teacher trainings under under Don Brahmanand & Amba Stapleton at the Nosara Yoga Institute, specializing in Yoga Therapeutic Essentials, Restorative and Yin practices. She proudly serves as Director of Education at Five Pillars Yoga, where she leads courses and trainings all year.