The Chakra Guide: Root Chakra

3 yoga poses to open up your root chakra

The root chakra is the first chakra and is located at the base of the spine. It is the root of your being and establishes the deepest connections with your physical body, your environment and the Earth. Muladhara is the most instinctual of all chakras — it is your survival center. Your fight-or-flight response is initiated from this chakra. This is your primal, animal nature. 

The energy of Muladhara allows us to harness courage, resourcefulness and the will to live during trying times. It connects us with the spiritual energies of our ancestors, their challenges and their triumphs.

Root chakra blocks

Since the base chakra carries our ancestral memories, most of us experience challenges or blockages within Muladhara. War, famine, natural disasters and any events that threaten our basic survival are all recorded within the energies of the first chakra.
 
These memories are imprinted in the subtle body and are passed down from generation to generation, creating unconscious generational patterns. It is our work to take responsibility for our own lives and bring to light that which is unconscious by working to open up our first chakra.
 
All of the seven chakras are important and interconnected with each other. Usually, balancing one chakra will create change in another chakra, but it is important to balance the root chakra first, or we will lack the stability and rootedness necessary for true transformation and personal growth. We cannot grow and change unless we feel safe and secure.

Root chakra yoga

Since yoga is both a physical and spiritual practice, yoga poses are not only exercises for your body, but also for your mind, emotions and spirit, making it the perfect practice for balancing your chakras. The best root chakra yoga poses are those that enhance your connection with the Earth — poses that keep you rooted and grounded.

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

The most basic of all poses in yoga is Mountain Pose. Almost every yoga practice begins with this simple pose. Mountain Pose encourages your connection with Earth, connects you with your own body and grounds you in the present moment.
 
I love this pose. It is very relaxing and affirming. When I feel scattered during the day, I go into this pose, even if it is just for a minute or two. Afterwards, I feel much calmer and collected. Here is how to do it:
  1. Stand barefoot on your yoga mat. Shoulders, neck and upper body are relaxed, yet straight. Your arms are at your sides.
  2. Bring your focus to your breath. Inhale slowly into your belly, then exhale. Continue taking deep, slow breaths.
  3. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Spread your toes and lift them off the ground, then relax and let them fall back on the mat.
  4. Imagine roots spreading from your feet deep down into the Earth. Feel the connection and the stability that these roots offer you.
  5. Continue breathing slowly and evenly. You are now standing strong as a mountain.

Warrior One Pose (Virabhadrasana 1)

This is a strong asana that creates a firm connection between the Earth and your body. This root chakra yoga pose allows your prana to move through your body, rooting you through the first chakra.
 
As you breathe in this posture, visualize the color red flowing through your body and flowing into your base chakra.
 
Warrior One Pose physically strengthens your legs, opens your hips and can help with knee and lower back strength.
  1. Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Take a deep breath and, on an exhale, step your left foot back about 3.5 feet.
  2. Turn your left foot to about a 45-degree angle. Make sure your left foot is firmly planted and touching the ground.
  3. On an exhale, bend your right knee over the right ankle, so that your shin is perpendicular to the floor. If you can, bring your right thigh parallel with the floor.
  4. Raise your arms above your head and touch the palms together (as in prayer position).
  5. Breathe deeply and hold the position for one minute.
  6. Bend your knees and step your feet back together. Repeat on the other side.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bhandasana)

This is a dynamic root chakra yoga pose that allows your feet to be firmly rooted into the Earth and your spine engaged in the release of excess root chakra energy.
 
Bridge Pose also stimulates the throat chakra, opens the heart and solar plexus chakras, and balances the sacral chakra.
  1. Begin by laying on your back with your arms straight by your side, palms facing down.
  2. Bend your knees and keep your feet parallel to each other, about hip-width apart.
  3. Bring your heels close to your body so that you can feel the tips of your fingers.
  4. While maintaining full contact with the ground, press your feet into the mat. Engage your leg muscles, but do not lift yourself up. Feel the energy flowing through your legs. Breathe deeply.
  5. Press your feet even more and lift your buttocks and your lower back off the ground. Press the chest upward.
  6. You can support yourself in this position with your hands by placing them on your lower back.
  7. Breathe slowly and evenly and hold the pose for one minute.

 

Read the first post in our Chakra Guide series:

The Chakra Guide: Harness the Power of Your Chakras

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