Think about the idea of being rooted in something and you think of strength and security. Like a tree with strong roots can nourish itself as it grows and also withstand the unexpected storm. When we ‘go back to our roots’ we return to a place of safety and comfort, often a place or landscape that we know well. The whole concept of being rooted is about stability and strength and our all-important connection to the earth. The root chakra, or MULADHARA, is the base chakra, it is located at the base of the spine, and it is associated with all of these crucial things.
Why is the Root Chakra Important?
The root chakra is the first chakra, and so it is associated with our most basic needs; the essentials that are fundamental to our lives, including survival and the basic elements of who we are as individuals:
Survival – To survive, we all have basic needs that must be met. Our determination to meet these needs is rooted in this first chakra. Our requirements for shelter, safety, security, food and water, and the presence of others comes from our most primal inner self. If we feel these needs are not being met, we naturally feel anxious, disconnected, and powerless. To grow and develop, we need to first meet our basic needs. The root chakra can make us feel that anxious powerlessness if it is not balanced and energy is not flowing. We can feel somehow disconnected from the world, or as though we are in danger. Anxiety and disconnectedness with the self and others are some of the key symptoms of problems with the root chakra.
Connection to the Earth/Grounding – We desire to connect with the earth. Whether you are a nature lover who spends time in the outdoors connecting to the earth or a city-dweller with little experience of this type of connection, we all crave it on a fundamental level. We all need to ground ourselves in the earth – as the name of this chakra suggests.
The Individual/Self – Who we are and how well we know ourselves is so important for emotional wellbeing and our ability to connect with others. Your sense of self is crucial to your life. Having respect for yourself, knowing yourself, and indeed loving yourself all come from the root or base chakra. Lack of self-esteem, poor self-worth, and a poor sense of self can all result from an unbalance in the first chakra. This can happen as a result of life experiences, events, and traumas that lead you to question who you are or what your worth as a person really is. Grief and guilt are two major symptoms of unbalance at this point, and restoring energy flow can help you to let go of these feelings, releasing us so that we can move forward with a sense of confidence and security.
Family and Heritage – Where we come from has a lasting impact on us. As we said earlier, going back to your roots is an important concept for people; it means returning to the past, to our childhoods, and the things that shaped us in our formative years (good and bad). We, as humans, seem to want to understand where we came from. It is common for us to find comfort in our traditional and cultural experiences. Sometimes this is a source of happiness, self-worth, and even power, and other times it can be a source of grief and trauma. We can only move past these negative connotations by managing them effectively rather than blocking them out. In order to move forward, dealing with the past is something the root chakra can facilitate, but only when it is balanced, and the energy flow is positive.
Growth – Good roots are essential for good growth! When there are problems with the root chakra, people often report feeling trapped or stuck; they are unable to develop, to grow, and to heal. This explains why blockages can happen at this level due to trauma or grief. After a major life change or a traumatic event such as the loss of a relationship or the grief of losing someone who has passed away, many people experience an inability to move forward, to heal, and grow again. These issues can also manifest in the long term in phobias, depressive episodes, obsessive thoughts, and even addictions.
The Root Chakra and the Physical Body
When the root chakra is unbalanced and the energy flow is disrupted, physical disorder can occur. Physical conditions associated with this chakra include problems with the legs and feet, including joint issues, varicose veins, and water retention. Generalized lower back pain and stiffness can occur as well as more severe pain such as sciatica. Issues such as constipation, diarrhea, and other groin and anal problems can also occur. A healthy root is also key to a healthy immune system, and so a wide range of health problems can be linked to the root chakra.
Working with the Root Chakra
With rebalancing the energy flow at this key part of the system, many difficult things can be released and healed. Emotional trauma and pain can be released. Negative emotions that are holding you back can be released. Long term guilt and negative self-image can be released. These destabilizing forces can be replaced with stabilizing feelings of security, safety, resilience, and self-worth. This is essential to move forward in a positive and healthy way. It enables the individual to develop their own understanding of who they are and how they relate to the people around them. This is so important for each of us to build good relationships and maintain a good sense of exactly who we are and where we are going.
As this is the first chakra, energy flow here is particularly important; releasing any blockages here will increase the energy flow to all other chakras. The positive effects are magnified throughout the subtle self.