The root chakra or Muladhara chakra is the first of the seven main chakras, located around the coccyx or tailbone. It governs our basic needs for good health in the body, a sense of connection to the Earth, and feeling supported and stable in the physical world.
Outline of the Root Chakra
Location: Base of the spine (Coccyx, Perineum, Pelvic Floor)
Bija Mantra (seed syllable, or seed mantra): LAM (sounds like llama)
Sanskrit Name (meaning): Muladhara (meaning: root, foundation)
Nerve Plexus: Coccygeal
Endocrine Gland: Adrenals
Origins of the Root Chakra and Chakra System
The chakra system originated in India between 1500 and 500 BCE. The ancient text called the Vedas was the first to mention seven primary chakras and introduces the energy system.
The Root chakra is the first of the seven energy centers, representing the earth element and grounding. In Sanskrit, the root chakra is called the Mūlādhāra Chakra, which translates to two Sanskrit words - Mula meaning root and Adhara meaning support or base. Following the root chakra is the sacral chakra, solar plexus chakra, heart chakra, throat chakra, third eye chakra, and crown chakra are all part of the subtle body energy system.
The definition of chakra is a “spinning wheel” of energy. The main chakras run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Concepts of the seven chakras came to the Western world in the 1880s from tantric yoga traditions and are increasingly studied and practiced due to the extensive benefits.
Functions of the Root Chakra
The root chakra performs as the root of the body, supporting solid bone structure and spiritual connection to the earth and the material world around us. A healthy root chakra sustains physical and mental health and allows us to feel secure and safe during our journey through life. When the root chakra is not balanced, all the other chakras may go out of line.
Trust versus mistrust is closely related to the body’s root chakra development. When considering psychologist Erik Erickson’s stages of development, for example, if a child’s guardian is a good character and provides the child with what they need, it will feel secure in the world around them. But if not, it will feel the opposite.
Within root chakras, people carry ancestral memories, including difficult histories of war, famine, and natural disasters. These generational traumas can create patterns of behaviors in our own lives but can heal through balancing exercises.
Kundalinienergy lies dormant at the base of the spine until wellness practices, such as meditation, asanas, pranayama, and prayer, awaken it. When energy flows through the first chakra, people feel grounded, and experience increased confidence. It will also give the other chakras a strong base for further development.
Blocked energy can negatively impact health in the physical body and mental state. Misalignment may result in the following symptoms.
Other physical issues include colon, bladder, prostate, leg, lower back, and feet problems. Energy, safety, and control issues can also arise, often leading to an eating disorder, including anorexia, binge eating, and bulimia. If you think you may have an eating disorder, please seek professional help from a doctor or therapist.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have a blocked root chakra. Try practicing some of our recommended exercises for root chakra healing, allowing life energy to flow freely through the body to improve well-being.
How to Open the Root Chakra
A balanced root chakra creates a foundation for each of the higher chakras and supports steady energy through the human body, supporting our connection to our surroundings and the earth. This sense of calmness and control can help people focus on their personal growth, helping increase their quality of life. Here are some of the ways to balance the root chakra:
Yoga asana: Both kundalini yoga, yoga flow, and hatha yoga practice effectively awaken the first chakra through activating the energy centers. Additionally, several asanas help open the Muladhara chakra. Although asanas with a yoga teacher are effective, it is not always necessary. Here are three effective yoga poses that will get life force energy flowing through the base chakra:
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana): Begin standing tall with your feet together. Slightly bend your knees and reach forward into a forward fold. Place your hands on the ground or behind your legs. Hold the stretch for several breaths and recover.
Garland Pose (Malasana): Begin standing with your feet mat-width apart. Exhale as you squat down and use your elbows to push your knees back. Bring your torso slightly forward, lengthen your back and keep your weight on your heels. Hold this for five or more breaths.
Tree Pose (Vrikshasana): Tree pose is arguably the most effective posture for creating a solid foundation. Begin standing tall with your feet firmly planted on the ground. After grounding your energy through the upper and lower body, bend one leg and place your foot flat against the inner thigh of the other leg. Place your arms in prayer in front of your chest. Hold this for several breaths, then repeat the tree pose on the other side.
Pranayama: Pranayama guides life force energy through the physical body. This is effective in root chakra healing and purifying the energy field. Here are two efficient exercises for practice:
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana): This pranayama helps balance the mind, body and soul by breathing through the individual nasal passages. Begin by sitting cross-legged. Place one hand on your knee and exhale completely. Use your other hand to shut your right nostril and inhale deeply with the other. Close your left nostril with your spare fingers and open the right. Exhale completely. Inhale through the right nostril, then exhale completely through the left. Repeat this cycle ten times.
Cooling Breathing (Sitali Pranayama): Also known as taco breath, this pranayama is excellent for cooling the physical body during the summer heat, hot flashes or other high-temperature situations. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. When ready, open your mouth in an "O" shape. Curl the tongue lengthwise and stick it slightly out of your mouth. Inhale through the mouth as if you are drinking from a straw. Focus on the cooling sensation and continue the exercise for 2-3 minutes.
Meditation: The practice of meditation sends grounding energy through the human body. It supports spiritual awakening by connecting one to their higher self and a higher power. Whether this is mother nature, god, or awakened consciousness, connecting to a higher spiritual plane of universal energy provides peace and stability. It is not only beneficial for the root chakra, but for all the chakras. Here are two suitable meditation techniques:
Body Scan Meditation: Begin by lying on your back in a comfortable position. Take a few deep breaths into your belly and relax your body. Begin the scan by bringing awareness to your feet and taking notice of any physical sensations that may arise. Rather than fighting the pain, breathe through it. Breathe into any tension or pain and visualize it leaving your body. Gradually work your way up through all of your body parts until you have scanned your entire body.
Focused Meditation: Begin by choosing a target for your focus, such as your breath. Sit quietly in a comfortable position, relax your body, and begin taking deep breaths into your belly. Shift your attention to your focused target. If you have chosen to focus on your breathing, for example, pay attention to the external and internal sensations you feel as you inhale and exhale.
Root chakra balancing will support a healthy chakra system. Additional ways to open the root chakra include participating in physical exercise, chanting, using Muladhara incense and essential oils, and reconnecting with the earth. Walk barefoot on natures' floor and feel grounded as spiritual energies flow up the legs and through the spinal cord. These exercises allow the root chakra to feel connected to its surroundings.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does root chakra opening feel like?
When the root chakra opens and energy is flowing freely, individuals will feel safe, comfortable and confident. Symptoms of the chakra opening include feeling grounded, connected and secure. You may notice tingling, heating, or healthy changes in eating habits and sleep patterns.
Why is my root chakra tingling?
It is normal for people to feel tingling sensations or warming in the chakra that is activating. Tingling at the base of the spine is a sign that the root chakra is opening and flowing. Common places one may feel these sensations during root chakra healing include the palms of the hands, the bottom of the feet and the pelvic floor.
What happens when the root chakra is overactive?
Symptoms of an overactive root chakra are very similar to blocked Muladhara energy. An overactive root chakra may affect an individual’s well-being. Mental signs of root chakra imbalance include feelings of panic, anxiety and fear. People also commonly experience low self-esteem, panic attacks and eating disorders.
Why does my root chakra hurt?
Pain in the pelvic area is often a sign that the root chakra is not aligned. Review our section on how to open your root chakra to learn how you can fix this.
How do you use root chakra stones?
There are several ways one can use stones for root chakra healing. Some rocks that support a balanced root chakra include bloodstone, tiger's eye, smokey quartz, moss agate, black onyx, red jasper, carnelian, garnet, black obsidian, hematite, and black tourmaline. Here are some ways to incorporate root chakra stones for healing into everyday life:
Meditation: Hold your chosen stone in your hands or on your root chakra. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and begin meditating.
In your home: Decorate your living space with root chakra stones to fill the room with balancing root chakra energy.
Jewelry: You can wear stones as a necklace, bracelet, or other types of jewelry. You can make a necklace by wrapping a rock in a wire.
Keep them with you: Keeping a stone that resonates with you in your pocket or purse can allow you to carry the energy with you throughout your day.
Where is the root chakra of the earth?
Many people believe the earth’s location of the root chakra is on Mount Shasta in Northern California. It is one of the highest peaks in the Cascade Range, known for its spiritual presence and beauty. Historically, Native American tribes have viewed the volcano as the creator's birthplace or the center of the universe.