This blog post focuses on the Western, esoteric version of the seven-chakra system. In particular, we discuss the first chakra, emphasising root chakra location and healing. Moreover, we talk about how to balance the unbalanced root chakra. The root chakra is the first of the seven-chakra system. It sits at the base of the spine as the foundation of our body. Thus it is the root of our being and the core of our sense of safety. In this seven-chakra system, our root chakra, or Muladhara, extends from the base of the spine, encompassing the lowest three vertebrae.
In Sanskrit, the original language of Tantric Yoga, the root chakra, is known as Muladhara. This is a composite word, using “mula”, which means “root”, and “adhara”, which means “support”.
While the ancient Tantric yoga philosophies vary widely in the number of chakras involved, most include a variation of the Muladhara or the base of our body’s physical energy system. Furthermore, the original Sanskrit identifies it less as a specific place and more as part of a yoga practice to stimulate and balance that energy centre. In Kundalini yoga, this is the site of the beginning of the kundalini awakening. It has also been considered the locale of the “red Bindu” that rises to merge with the “white Bindu”, uniting female and male Shiva and Shakti.
Additionally, traditional Chinese medicine also relates to modern-day chakra practices, with Qi energy flowing from the base of your spine or the root chakra, to your head and back down in your body’s energy circulation.
Root Chakra Location
The Chopra Center describes the root chakra as our survival centre, the core of our feeling of safety, grounding and stability. Moreover, in subtle modern-day bodywork, Muladhara is red, the element of Earth and a four-petaled lotus flower. Its location at the base of our spine is the foundation of our emotional and physical safety and identity. Thus, many believe that the balance of this chakra relates to early childhood and how well our primary caregivers met our needs.
Physically, the first energy centre is at the base of the spine, between the anus and perineum. This can give rise to sensations like tingling or heat, especially near the tailbone, when this energy centre is activated or opened.
The question, “where is the root chakra?” has more than one answer. While its physical location is at the base of the spine, its location within the energy body is at the very base of the channels through which your life force (chi, prana, or vital energy) flows.
As this is the centre of our safety, identity and foundation, the emotional manifestations of this chakra often relate to trust and courage. Physically, the chakra is associated with the skeletal structure, the large intestine, blood and especially our lower back, pelvis and lower legs. Additionally, aromas that appeal to this Muladhara are earthy, including frankincense, myrrh, cedar and cypress.
Muladhara is related to our adrenal system. As our adrenal glands control our survival’s fight-or-flight response, it’s only fitting that it is the seat of this vital function.
We are not the only ones who have energy bodies. Likewise, the Earth has its own, including a Mount Shasta root chakra. This mountain is a powerful energy vortex.
Imbalanced Root Chakra
What causes root chakra imbalance?
Disconnection from the Earth is one of the most specific causes of an imbalance. Since we tied this chakra to safety and security, some people develop an imbalance during childhood if their parents fail to provide them with a stable upbringing. Sometimes, working too hard to strengthen this chakra can trigger an imbalance in the opposite direction, creating an overactive root chakra. In addition, imbalance symptoms can feed off of each other. For example, feelings of anxiety and fear can turn into trauma, which makes it more challenging to correct. Therefore, they can require a lot of healing if neglected for too long.
Imbalanced Root Chakras
An imbalance can mean your Muladhara is overstimulated or underactive. Often, we can feel this imbalance through physical and emotional issues. Here’s an overview of some of the manifestations of an imbalanced root chakra:
Underactive Root Chakra
If your Muladhara is underactive, you may experience a variety of emotional, spiritual and physical symptoms, including:
- a feeling of being disconnected from the world or your own physical body
- lack of energy or motivation
- lower-body swelling
- overeating or craving comfort food
- anxiety about finances, security or stability
- leg circulation problems
Overactive Root Chakra
A root chakra that dominates other chakras or is too active for your subtle body’s energy system may manifest in a variety of symptoms, including:
- the urge to act aggressively or dominate
- impulsive behaviour
- greed and materialism
- fear of change
- irrational anger
- feeling stuck
Root chakra can be underactive and overactive at the same time. It can “jump” from one state to another instantaneously. Alternatively, it can stay underactive or overactive for prolonged periods and then change from one state to another. This change can be either gradual or immediate.
Balance Root Chakra
Balancing Your Root Chakra
A balanced Muladhara is a foundation for your physical body and the other ascending chakras and kundalini. An imbalance here can cause a domino effect in destabilizing some or all of your other chakras. You can work in many ways to restore your root chakra and awaken kundalini.
- Meditate to ground yourself. You can use aromatherapy oils in a favourite diffuser or burner to enhance your meditation. The essential oils most associated with the root chakra include cedar, frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, vetiver and ylang-ylang.
- Include Muladhara-related poses during your yoga practice, including pavanamuktasana and Malasana. Kegel exercises for women are also practical. As with meditation, some yogis prefer to use aromatherapy during their asanas to amplify the effects.
- Reconnect with nature by gardening, walking, visiting a farmer’s market and eating red foods like strawberries and apples or root vegetables like potatoes.
- Add healing stones or crystals to your routine by placing a red jasper, hematite, garnet or ruby stone on your pelvis while you meditate.
Root Chakra Healing
Sometimes, you may not need to worry about how to open root chakra – just how to bring it into balance. For example, you can have an open root chakra that doesn’t function properly. Many of the same actions that open imbalanced root chakra can help stimulate it, including muladhara chakra yoga, mantras, and yantras. But there are others specifically for strengthening the area.
Dance emphasizes movements of the legs and hips. Any dance will work – as long as it gets you moving, balancing, and exercising your lower body and sense of balance.
Much like the LAM mantra resonates with this chakra frequency, some music also does.
What frequency is the root chakra?
396 Hz is the one that resonates the most strongly, but root chakra activation music can contain several different tones. Sometimes, these tones are pure – you may have a track that’s nothing but the 396 hz root chakra sound. Occasionally, we can layer with other frequencies (like the 256 hz tone), nature sounds, or music.
Some music suits dancing, while pure tones and nature sounds are better for Muladhara meditation or background noise. You can create root chakra music using a brass or crystal singing bowl. A singing bowl should be tuned to C, though some may be a higher or lower C note than others.
- Food. Food is one of the necessities for survival, so eating and excretion are strongly tied to the first Chakra. Foods that are very earthy, like root vegetables, help strengthen and clear root chakra. Proteins promote strength, so beans and eggs are helpful here. Lastly, red fruits and vegetables are excellent root chakra foods.
- Aromatherapy. Our sense of smell is powerful and can help promote relaxation and ease. Since learning how to awaken root chakra energy often comes with its share of anxiety and stress (both anxiety and stress can contribute to a chakra blockage), essential oils are also valuable. These include:
These oils are calming, grounding, and strengthening. You can use them as perfume or diffuse them during balancing root chakra meditation. In addition, you also can dilute them in a carrier oil and use them to anoint the base of the spine. Then, close the shades, light a few candles, play some balancing music, and take time to massage yourself with handmade massage oil. Without a doubt, it will open your energy centre and help with imbalanced root chakra lower back pain.
Earthy and spicy herbs are activating and balancing. Roots like dandelion, burdock, and ginger strengthen, while hot spices like cayenne, pepper, and horseradish are stimulating.
If you’ve been using coffee to increase energy levels, you can make a tremendous caffeine-free, mineral-rich substitute using roasted dandelion root to balance the root chakra. Brew it like tea, and add milk or sweetener if desired. You can also make tea out of fresh ginger. A simple root chakra tea recipe involves cutting a few coin-sized pieces of fresh ginger root and allowing them to steep in boiling water for ten minutes. Once the tea has steeped, remove the ginger, sweeten it with honey, and drink.
Many of these herbs stimulate digestion. Other tea benefits include lowering blood pressure and increasing mineral uptake.
EFT, or “tapping,” stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. This technique involves tapping on areas of the body – usually the face and hands – while processing an emotionally challenging experience. For example, EFT root chakra exercises alleviate fear and anxiety and process trauma.
Affirmations can help reduce feelings of fear and improve our self-confidence. Repeating words influences your thoughts, and your thoughts influence your emotional patterns. Since the Muladhara Chakra is the “root of Existence,” I Am affirmations are the most helpful. Some of these affirmations include:
- “I am safe”
- “I am healthy”
- “I am secure”
- “I am protected”
- “I am supported”
Writing these phrases down can help cement them in your mind. If you like, you can keep a journal for recording your progress and writing down root chakra healing affirmations.