Introducing the Chakras: The Root Chakra
Very often I’m asked — what are the chakras, and why are they important to wellness? The answer goes deep into the ancient knowledge of many cultures…far too much to detail here…but I do want to give the basics in this and the next six posts.
Essentially, the chakras are centers of life force in your energy body that are intimately linked to specific aspects of your mind/body/spirit. Some yogic teachers say that each chakra interacts with one of the seven endocrine glands and with groups or “plexuses” of nerves, arteries and veins.
Each chakra controls the functions associated with one gland or plexus. For this reason, keeping your chakras in balance is an important aspect of maintaining your wellness!
There are seven chakras, affecting every aspect of your being:
- Root — located in the genital area, governing issues of personal and tribal survival
- Sacral — located just below the bellybutton, governing feelings and social interaction
- Solar Plexus — located at stomach level, governing personal power and responsibility
- Heart — located at the breastbone, governing relationships and emotional intimacy
- Throat — located just above the thymus, governing communication, honesty, self-expression in relationship
- Brow — located at the third eye, governing self-realization, intuition and insight
- Crown — located at the top of the head, governing spirituality and connection with the Divine
Balancing the Root Chakra
First of all, the root chakra is all about survival and the most basic needs: eating, drinking, sleeping, making a living, being safe in the world, having a right to exist! Located in the genital area, it also fuels the sex drive at the most basic level. Appropriately, it’s associated with the color red.
When your root chakra is out of balance, you may feel you’re disconnected from the warmth and vitality of life. You may be fatigued or anemic; your immune system may be weak and you may catch contagious diseases easily. You may have low back pain, constipation or other low-GI issues, or issues with your reproductive system. Emotionally, you may feel depressed, angry, or anxious; you may overreact as if simple things threaten your survival. Scarcity is a haunting fear, whether scarcity of food, resources, or money – an unbalanced root chakra weakens your sense of security in the world!
So what can you do about this? In a word — Ground yourself.
Eat Grounding Foods
Nourishing yourself is one of the most grounding things you can do…and there are plenty of foods that specifically nourish the root chakra. They start — not surprisingly — with root vegetables:
- Celery root, Celeriac
- Parsley root
- Burdock root
- Sweet potato
Root spices such as ginger and turmeric, and root drinks such as roasted dandelion root tea, help to build your immune system while grounding you.
You’ll also benefit if you eat red roots and fruits, such as:
- Red peppers
- Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- Raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- Blood oranges
Surround Yourself with Earthy Fragrance
Smell is our most visceral sense — it connects directly with the most primitive parts of the brain. . So you can ground yourself deeply and instinctually by using organic candles or essential oils with the fragrances of patchouli, myrrh, cedarwood, and vetiver.
Do Grounding Activities
Most important, ground your body in the simplest way — by connecting physically with the Earth (ideally while you’re wearing red!):
- Sitting on the ground
- Spreading out a blanket on the ground and having a picnic
- Dancing barefoot
- Walking barefoot
- Sitting or walking in meditation (especially barefoot on the earth)
- Hugging a tree or putting your back up against a tree
- Practicing Yoga, qi gong or tai chi( especially outside and barefoot)
Visualize and Tone
Last of all, I want to give you this chakra toning video, featuring visionary artist Lahrinda’s visualizations, coupled with Healing Sounds pioneer Jonathan Goldman’s sounding of the sacred vowel sounds associated with each chakra. Put this on when you are in a quiet place and have the time to focus and tone the vowels yourself for the greatest benefit in balancing and aligning your chakras.
Next up — the passionate sacral chakra!