Root Chakra: Finding Stability in the Physical World
Remember what I told you about the chakras being like apps on our phones?
Each one is responsible for a specific area of your life, just like each of the apps you’ve downloaded on your phone help serve a specific purpose (reading the news, calling your friends abroad or finding what song is playing on the radio).
Before we go deeper into our understanding of any of these apps, we need to think about the #1 tool we need.
Before downloading anything, before even adding an internet connection or choosing a phone provider for your apps to work… There’s something really important you need: a phone!
That’s a bit what the first chakra, the root chakra is for. Without it functioning properly, or using the phone analogy, without it being charged, it’s very hard for all the others (or the apps) to do their jobs, too.
Your root chakra, at the basis of your spine, is where your sense of stability, safety stems from, your feeling of security, being home and nurtured; thanks to your root chakra, you feel grounded, anchored, stable, and can acknowledge your physical body.
Stability: a situation that is not likely to move or change. (source)
Your home, your body, should be safe and stable.
Your right to be here
As I mentioned in the introduction to the chakra system, your root chakra is linked to the right you have to be here, to exist.
Like a tree needs roots or you need your phone to make calls and read the news (choose the image that you like the most), you, as a human being, need your anchor in the world - your physical anchor. Without it, your world is shaken by fear, anxiousness and an impossibility to relax and rest. Without your sense of stability, your body turns on its fight or flight mode, because nothing in your bones makes you feel like you are safe to be here, to simply exist. You can see how this is going to be a problem for you to bloom in all areas of your life. If you’ve come to place where denying your body the right to be is just a normal thing you do, how can you go out in the world and, well, live?
Your right to have
Linked to the right to exist is the right to have: if you have the right to be here on Planet Earth, you also have the right to provide for yourself. As adults, this translates into your ability to keep a job, have a roof over your head, money that allows us to put food on the table everyday.
Signs that your root chakra needs attention
It can be quite complex to identify which chakra needs healing, and you’ll have to do some detective work to find exactly what’s happening within you (and more often than not, several chakras will be involved). But the number one sign that comes to mind when it comes to a misaligned or blocked chakra are eating disorders.
They are a perfect example of our attempts to deny our physical body its right to simply exist and be real. Whether we’re talking anorexia, bulimia, or pressure you put on yourself to eat certain foods & avoid others because they make you look a certain way, this is what we do that denies grounding energy to flow freely in and out of our bodies.
Any signs that show disconnection from your physical body, or any thoughts that revolve around the idea that you aren't deserving of money to live or a house to feel good in, to name but two examples, are signs that your root chakra needs healing and balancing.
Trust at the basis of your sense of stability
And at the basis of disorders like these is often mistrust. If you don’t trust that the phone you’re about to buy works, you won’t buy it. If the tree doesn’t trust in the ground it’s setting its roots in, chances are it won’t happen (although I’m not sure about that… Without trust, we cannot let anxiety go: we feel the need to try and control everything because we believe no one else will (or can) do it for us.
And experiencing mistrust probably comes from an experience we’ve had with something, someone, where our basic survival needs weren’t met, where nourishment was denied to us, where for a moment home had disappeared. If our home is lost, oftentimes we find ourselves unable to focus on one thing, we jump from topic to topic in a conversation, and feel unable to know what we want to eat for dinner on most days.
There is a way, of course, to turn mistrust into trust, find your home and feel stability in your body and mind.
A couple of things you already do to heal your root chakra
Every time you focus your attention on your body, you’re making space for grounded energy to heal you.
It means that every time you focus on your movements while cooking, or creating anything with your hands (painting, working with textiles, arranging flowers), you’re balancing your root chakra. Every time you get on your yoga mat, every time you do a body scan meditation, you’re aligning your root chakra. Every time you acknowledge your hunger, thirst, your need for sleep or to listen to music, you are (re)claiming your right to be here and to exist.
And here is a short exercise you can do - right now, later today, every day if you need to.
Noticing your feet - grounding into the Earth
Take your shoes and socks off if you're not already barefoot.
Come to standing and place your feet hip-distance; stand so your hips are over your ankles, your shoulders over your hips, your neck aligned with your spine. Rotate your shoulders out so your palms are facing forward, or take your hands in prayer position to your heart space, thumbs touching your chest (or anywhere on your body that makes sense to you).
Close your eyes. Feel your feet beneath you, go up your ankles, calves, knees, thighs and hips. Feel everything anchored, just right where it should be. Notice your belly, rising and falling as your inhale and exhale through your nose. Notice the rising and falling of your chest. See if you can relax tension in your jaw, lips, cheeks and eyebrows.
Then, keeping your feet anchored, simply move your weight to the ball mounts of your feet. Stay for a breath, then move your weight to the right. Then to the back. To the left. Forward. Then switching directions, moving the weight into the left side of your foot, then into your heels, the right, and back to center this time.
It is a practice of feeling your edges, your boundaries so you can find your center. Once you’ve found your center, stay there for a couple of breath. Feel the skin of your feet, feel heavy in your body. Letting gravity hold you.
You are safe, you are held, this is home.
Come back to this practice as often as you can. You can do the same exercise lying on your back with your knees into your chest, focusing on your lower back rather than your feet.
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