Andrea has a background in Myers-Briggs and Western astrology. She mostly writes about relationships.
What Is the Root Chakra?
The following guide will take a secular look at how to meditate for the root chakra. I'll explain what it is and give you some exercises. You can apply religious or spiritual ideas to your meditation if you like, but it's not required. I want this to be open and comfortable for anyone.
The root chakra is at the base of the spine. Many of the guided meditations I've come across start with a focus on the root chakra and gradually move up to the crown of the head. Most meditations have different colors for different chakras. The root chakra is associated with a dark red or pink. The chakras in ascending order scale through a rainbow-like spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and white.
The root chakra is called the Muladhara, which translates to the "root of existence", Mula is the word for "root" and dhara means "flux". "Muladhara" comes from Sanskrit.
The root chakra is the foundation for the other chakras. It's where the energy body begins. In some forms of yoga, there is an emphasis to balance the root chakra before the others. In Kundalini, this is where people start their meditative journey. In Hinduism, it's the seat of the red bindu and it rises to the white bindu at the crown of the head, uniting feminine and masculine energies.
Visualization: The Muladhara is often represented by a lotus with four petals. It is generally pink or red. There is a yellow square in the center and eight spears point out of the square.
Location: The chakra is more precisely located at the coccygeal plexus, the tailbone.
Origin: Many of the concepts that deal with chakras are based in Hinduism. It is perfectly okay to break from Hinduism and to try energy work in this area from a different spiritual or religious lens, or a secular one. Meditation and prayer don't belong to one particular religion; both practices are as diverse as the number of languages people use.
What It Represents: The root chakra is about joy, natural pleasures, self-control, and concentration. It's also associated with longing whether spiritually, physically, or otherwise.
Element: The root chakra is associated with the element of earth. This chakra is about grounding down to nature for healing. Consider the vibrations of the earth and the tectonic shifts. Earth moves slowly, but it has great power and potential. Take things step by step rather than in big spurts.
There are a lot of similar concepts across religions that have something akin to a root chakra. You can meditate on this space without bringing a deity into it.
Here are some examples of parallels on the root chakra in other schools of thought:
- The Muladhara chakra doesn't have an equal in the Tantric system of Vajrayana, but the other six chakras do. The system is used in Tibet. There is a different kind of teaching for this space of the body.
- The Sufi system has something called the Lataif. There are two lower Lataif that function similarly to the root chakra. These areas focus on a person's lower self.
- In Kabbalah, a school of thought in Jewish mysticism, the lowest Sephiroth is known as the Malkuth. It plays a similar role as the basis of physical nature and the springboard for transcendence.
|Traditions/School of Thought||Root Chakra Terms||Defintion|
Adhara, Bhumi Chakra, Brahma Padma, Chaturdala, Chatuhpatra, Mooladhara, Mula Chakra, Muladhara, Mula Padma
Esoteric traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Tantra is a broad word used to mean text, theory, system, method, instrument, technique, or practice.
Purana is a vast genre of legends and lore found in Hinduism and Jainism.
Adhara, Brahma Muladhara, Mulakanda
Vedas are the ancient religious text of India. The Vedas are the oldest section of Sanskrit literature and Hindu scriptures.
Breathing exercises are important for the root chakra. Intentional breathing can help you to relax at a deeper level. I suggest spending 10 to 15 minutes focusing on and connecting to your breath.
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- Take deeper and longer breaths. You should feel the air filling up in your chest and releasing out your mouth or nose. Slowly release the air. Experiment with breathing only through your mouth or your nose.
- Try to relax your tailbone. If you’ve been sitting all day, you’ve put a lot of stress on the bottom of your spine. Adding more movement into your day and avoiding going sedentary can help you to feel better. Try breathing exercises and meditation in different positions, like standing, downward dog, or on your back.
- Take a lion's breath. Stick out your tongue and push out air in one big sigh. This might make you feel ridiculous when around others. It might be wise to reserve this exercise for when you’re at home. I find it helpful to do this exercise when I'm driving in a stressful area.
- Focus on the sound of your breath. Try different breathing patterns to create different noises. Consider what your breath does to your senses.
- Drink water between breaths. Your body will relax as you drink water and focus on your breath. Dehydration leads to a host of problems, so bring water into your practice.
- Focus on your shoulders. Take a deep breath and notice how your shoulders rise and fall. Try to relax your shoulders more.
- Alternate breathing through nostrils. Close one nostril by placing your finger on the outside of your nose and push that side in. Inhale. Now close the opposite nostril by placing a finger on the outside of your nose and push that side in. Exhale. Repeat this as many times as you like. Don't breathe in and out of your mouth. Focus on alternating air through your nose.
- Exhale with a hum. Find a pitch you like. Take a big inhale and when you exhale hum with your mouth closed.
- Take big breaths and focus on your root chakra. When you exhale, try to push the air down as if it can reach down to your spine base. Notice how your exhale descends down your body.
- Take staccato breaths. As you inhale and exhale, do it in small increments. You could describe this as pulsating the air.
Redirecting Intrusive Thoughts
Here is a way to handle intrusive thoughts while you meditate:
The mind can shift to another thought every 15-20 seconds. If you have a bad thought: receive it, observe it, and acknowledge it. Become aware of its existence, but don't let it control you.
Count to 20. Think about the unwelcome thought again, but try to reframe it to something positive or send it into a white light and give it permission to vanish. Show gratitude for three things that are happening in the present and try to ground yourself.
While you're working to balance your root chakra or put it at ease, you may want to repeat a mantra you like to help ground you or bring you a sense of peace. Here are some suggested mantras:
"I am strong, I am stable, I am at peace."
"I am balanced."
"I am cultivating radiance."
"I am grounded and present."
"I am a vessel for kindness."
"I am a trustable person."
"I am real."
"I have a foundation."
"I plant myself in good soil."
"I convey stability."
"I have found stasis."
"I am steady like a rock."
"My body is in agreement."
"My body is a temple for energy."
"My body is a temple for the soul."
"I am thankful for my physical body."
Visualization for Grounding
The root chakra is similar to the color of soil. Imagine a red ball at the base of your spine. A string comes out of the ball; it drops down to the core of the planet. Let your body rest deeper: you are pulled downward to the planet's core. Gravity feels heavy as it pushes you into the ground. A weighted blanket might work well for this exercise.
Stop trying to hold yourself up. Let your body's heaviness sink into the floor. Close your eyes.
Let your shoulders relax deeper, stop holding them. Let your legs push down into the floor, and let your back relax. Imagine the red ball at your spine base getting bigger and bigger; the red color gets brighter.
The ball spins and energy radiates off it. The energy travels down your legs and into your feet. It warms up your body. The energy travels up to your head. The energy makes you feel strong and stable.
Visualization for Open-Mindedness
Imagine the planets in our solar system are chakras. The Sun gives the planets life. Imagine the ball at the spine base is Mercury: your root chakra is orbiting around the Sun. This is the smallest planet. It is rocky and covered in craters. Mercury keeps things simple. Imagine the Sun's rays greeting the planet and giving it the energy it needs to orbit the star.
Your root chakra is orbiting around the highest energy it can find. If you want to move to other chakras, go to the next planet and visualize the planet as you focus on the new chakra. Venus represents the sacral, Earth is for the solar plexus, and Mars stands in for the heart. Jupiter represents the throat, Saturn is for the third eye, and Uranus stands in for the crown.
Visualization for Humility
Imagine a field of soil with no vegetation or flora. You're laying in the soil and the sun is gently giving its light to the Earth. The soil is reddish-brown. Imagine you're putting your feet into the soil, what does it feel like? Is it cold? Is it soft? Is it muddy?
Imagine workers coming by the field and throwing seeds into the soil. They cover up the seeds with dirt. They water the ground. Imagine your body in a shallow pool of water, like if you were in a bathtub and just turned on the faucet.
Imagine that the seeds form roots and those roots reach toward the core of the planet. The part of the plant that grows above ground reaches toward the Sun. Let the Sun's energy trickle down the plants and down the roots to reach the planet's core.
Try meditation practices with yoga. This will add some intentional movement into your day and prevent you from going sedentary.
Warrior II: The pose is about getting centered. It projects an image of someone who is strong and courageous.
Triangle Pose: Get into a lunge then rise up, let your forward leg straighten. Bend your arms and upper body over the leg. See if you can touch the ground.
Standing Forward Fold: Bend at the waist. Rest your hands on your shins or place them on the ground. This is a good stretch for the hamstrings and keeps the spine long.
Garland Pose: The pose strengthens the lower back, calves, and ankles. It opens your hips.
Easy Pose: Sit cross-legged on the ground. Rest your hands on your knees. Sit on a cushion or mat if you need more support. Intentionally think about your root chakra and imagine it relaxing. Invite yourself to let go of worries and fears.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Andrea Lawrence