Chakra Series, Part I: What is the Root Chakra?

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Chakra Man - Root ChakraWhat is the Root Chakra?

The Root Chakra is our first major chakra. It is located at the base of our spine and projects outward in a cone-like spiral, with the opening becoming wider the further it moves from the body. It is visually expressed by the color red, is associated with the element of earth, and corresponds with our sense of smell. Often the bottoms of the feet are used as grounding points in massage, energy work, meditation, and visualization to help connect the Root Chakra to the earth.

The Root Chakra is the foundation of the chakra system. It represents our physical bodies and our physical identities and lessons. It holds our fight or flight instinct and controls issues surrounding survival, from the will to live to financial security. The Root Chakra corresponds to our development from conception to the age of seven, and holds onto not only the experiences we had during that time in our lives, but also our genetic inheritance. Anything that may have threatened our survival when we were young is held in the Root Chakra. Issues surrounding our families and the emotional patterns and habits we learn from them, both positive and negative, are held here.

Physically, the Root Chakra is associated with the skeletal system - chiefly the spine. Our skeleton is what provides support for our physical bodies, just as our Root Chakra provides support for our energetic bodies. Energy held here is also associated with the blood as well as the kidneys and adrenals.

The Root Chakra is where we draw our strength, and our ability to adapt to adversity. Some cultures revere bamboo for its ability to stand strong while bending and flowing with the wind, instead of rigidly fighting against it and snapping. The Root Chakra can be thought of like the bamboo. A strong and balanced Root gives us the ability to flow with the problems of daily life, large and small, to be able to take action without fighting, reacting, or breaking.

Root Chakra Archetypes

The Victim. Each major chakra has two archetypes that represent its dynamics both in and out of balance. When out of balance (either too open/overactive or too closed/underactive), the Root Chakra is characterized as The Victim. The Victim is someone who is feeling so bogged down and stuck in old patterns that she is unwilling, or unable, to change. Instead of taking control of situations, The Victim lays the blame on others. This may be done out of ease, or pure desperation, but the results are the same. When the Root is too strong, The Victim is lethargic and bored with life, and is possibly heading towards, or even deeply immersed in, depression. When the Root is too weak, she is disorganized, unable to focus, and may be dealing with high levels of stress and anxiety. An out-of-balance Root Chakra can also be both at once, constantly moving to the extremes between depressive states and anxious states, leaving The Victim to live in the phrase "I can't". The Victim feels constantly hopeless, weak, and afraid.

The Mother. When the Root Chakra is in balance, whether the person is male or female, the archetype is known as The Mother. She is positive and nurturing, both towards herself and others. She is grounded and has a healthy sense of where she belongs and what her greater purpose is. She feels welcomed by others and is able to trust in both other people and the universe. The Mother is self-sufficient, responsible, and able to turn her dreams and goals into reality by taking action and floating through and past adversity instead of fighting against it. She is not easily distracted, and is able to focus on what she wants and needs, while being strong enough to also help those around her. The Mother is the backbone of the Chakras, the caretaker, and energy flows freely between her Root and her Heart.

Balancing the Root Chakra

Finding balance in the Root Chakra can be challenging. Not because grounding the emotional body is difficult on its own, but because an unbalanced Root feels helpless and stuck, reluctant to take action. An easy way to connect to the earth energetically is to connect physically: take off your shoes and physically feel the earth on the bottom of your feet. It is important to note that chakras are dynamic, and are simultaneously drawing energy in, and releasing it. The balance lies in each chakra bringing the same amount in as it is putting out. It is neither too open nor too closed. 

A simple yoga pose such as the tree pose (vrksasana) or mountain pose (tadasana) can help balance the Root Chakra, and can easily be done daily, in any location. While in either pose, imagine your foot (or feet) sprouting roots down into the earth, while your head is pulled towards the sky.

Because the sense of smell is associated with the Root, aromatics are especially useful in balancing this chakra. Just smelling aromatic resins, essential oils, and extracts may be enough to be grounding, but for a Root Chakra with a severe or lengthy imbalance, placement of the aromatic compounds will be more helpful. This can be done by placing the aromatic compounds on your hands and holding your hands over the chakra, soaking your feet in a foot bath which you've added herbs or essential oils to, or placing (diluted) essential oils or infused oils directly onto your feet. Visualize a red cube in the area of your Root Chakra, and breathe deeply.

Earthy aromas like vetiver and spikenard are good, but the king of Root Chakra aromatics is frankincense. This fearless tree is known to grow places other vegetation can't, including on the edges of cliffs. Frankincense trusts its roots to keep it grounded while it grows, and this feeling of strength is transferred when you inhale the aroma of its flesh. Although it is common to burn frankincense, smoke is flighty while oil is physical. Essential or infused oil is preferred when using frankincense for the Root Chakra.

<< What are Chakras?          What is the Sacral Chakra? >>

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For educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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  • Lisa Dolloff
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