Understanding the Root Chakra: Muladhara

Understanding the Root Chakra: Muladhara

Whether you’re just beginning your yoga journey or are a seasoned pro, you’ve likely heard something about the chakra system. The TL;DR version? The chakras are energy centers within the body that enable us to connect with ourselves on a deeper level.

There are seven primary chakras located along the spine, and the first one is Muladhara, aka the root chakra. We will chat more about this specific chakra in this post. If you’d like a little more information on the chakras to get you started, read What You Need to Know About the Chakras and How to Work with Them Right Now.

What is the root chakra?

The root chakra, which is also known by its Sanskrit name, Muladhara, is the energy center located at the base of the spine. It governs this area, as well as the legs and feet. As its name indicates, the root chakra is all about stability and setting down roots.

It is the chakra that is responsible for keeping us grounded, especially during times of upheaval, and connects to the part of our psyche that relates to our families of origin. Whether your family was there, not there or too much there, Muladhara is where those feelings, experiences and stories live.

Wait, say more about the root chakra and what it tells us about our families…

When the root chakra is trying to get our attention, it often has to do with healing we need to do around our families of origin. No matter how “good” or “bad” your family dynamic was, you will carry lessons from your childhood as an adult. I like to say that no one escapes childhood unscathed.

What this means is that our adult lives often reflect our childhood experiences. Most commonly, people see these themes play out in their ability to hold and keep jobs, manage their finances and create stability in all aspects of their lives.

While people often seek mothering and fathering outside of themselves as adults, the inner work of managing the root chakra is knowing that you can handle whatever comes your way. You can, in fact, stand on your own two feet.

How do I work with the root chakra?

There are a number of ways to work with Muladhara. The first is in your physical yoga or asana practice. Standing poses are great for connecting with the root chakra because they teach you to be stable, to stand strong on your own two feet. This is one way that we can bring the metaphorical/psychological aspects of the root chakra into the physical body.

Another way to work with the root chakra is to use a mantra in meditation. For Muladhara, I like to use the mantra, “I am stable.” When repeated in meditation, this mantra tells the psyche that you are safe, grounded and capable. It reminds the psyche that you can handle whatever comes your way, that you’ve got this.

How do I know if I need to work with the root chakra?

The more you begin to work with the chakras, the easier it becomes to know when something is not right. At the beginning of our journey, we often don’t realize anything is wrong until we encounter a physical ailment, injury or issue in the part of the body that particular chakra governs.

In the case of Muladhara, the issue would occur at the base of the spine or in the legs or the feet. This is our cue to start looking at our lives, our families of origin, and the lessons and experiences from childhood that are impacting us in the present.

Over time, we learn to listen inward for signs that the root chakra is attempting to get our attention. The chakras often tap us subtly, affecting our thoughts and emotions before they mess with our bodies. Because the chakras have a metaphorical location along the spine, they signal us from the inside out.

In my next post, I’ll be talking about the sacral chakra, Swadhisthana, so stay tuned.