This guest post comes from our contributor FP Naomi.
The Root Chakra, also known as Muladhara, is the energy center at the base of your spine. It is the first of the seven chakras, and connects to our sense of grounded-ness as well as instincts of survival. When off balance, it can make us feel low energy, alienated – from ourselves and others – and easily angered. When in balance, it makes us feel secure and stable, full of health, energy, and vitality. That sense of security and added energy can often motivate us to reach further to go after our goals and dreams. I like to look at it as the foundation block that every human needs in order grow.
If you’re feeling the need for that grounding, there are several things you can do, but today I want to offer up yoga as a solution. This 15 minute asana will help you focus on your connection to the earth and building stability. Go through the routine whenever you feel the need, or try just practicing it twice a week when you wake up in the morning. It will strengthen the Root Chakra, and you’ll begin to experience the benefits. It’s like a tree without roots or a rocket without a launch pad, you can’t possibly grow as a person without first building a healthy energy at the base.
The Yoga Asana
OPENING YOUR FEET & ANKLES
The Action: Roll your ankles out one at a time by making concentric circles in each direction. When you’re done, kneel down with your toes tucked, so that you’re sitting on your heels. Stay like this for several breaths, rocking back and forth slightly to further stretch your ankles and the balls of your feet.
Why: One of the central ideas to building up your Root Chakra is having strong connection to the earth. Active, grounded legs allow energy to travel up and support the tucking of your tailbone.
LOOSENING THE LOWER SPINE
The Action: Move through two sun salutations, focusing on keeping your low spine loose and fluid throughout the movement. At the top of your salute, reach back into space. Feel the strength in your legs as you stand, pulling the energy up from your bellybutton and out the tips of your fingers.
Why: Loosening your spine and focusing awareness on this point will help you to open any energy blocks. The movement is all about getting energy flowing and focusing attention on your root.
The Actions: At the end of your sun salutes, settle into down dog for a good 8 breaths. You’ll want to focus your energy here on sucking the stomach in. Feel the support of the earth underneath your hands and feet as they pull its energy up into your belly.
Why: Having a strong mulabandha (yogic term for tightening your pelvis muscles and using your inner abdominals to bring energy up into your belly) will stabilize you in more advanced poses on and off the mat. Down dog is a great pose for accessing mulabandha. Notice the sensation, feel strong at your root, and retain it as you move throughout the rest of your asana.
ROOTING DOWN AND OPENING THE SPINE
The Action: From your down dog, move into as many rounds of bridge pose as you would like. Lifting your hips into the air, remember to keep that buttoning action between your hips and lower ribs (mulabandha). Release the muscles in your buttocks, and let your grounded feet and legs support you.
Why: This pose lets you firmly root into the earth and opens your spine to engage in the release of excess Root Chakra energy. The power from the earth travels up your feet, through the arc of your body, down your shoulders, and back into the ground making a circle of groundedness.
SURRENDER TO GRAVITY
The Action: Finally, end your asana in shavasana. Roll your shoulders under, let your spine get comfortable, and stretch your feet and hands to the edges of the mat.
Why: This final relaxation pose allows you to open your mind and surrender to gravity. Remember that part of balancing the Root Chakra is remaining humble. Meditate on the building and releasing of energy that you just experienced in your lower spine and pelvis.
When you rise from the mat and move throughout your day, remember that feeling of keeping your legs grounded and letting that energy move up into a strong lower abdominal. Grow tall from the foundation you’ve built. Expand in all directions and explore the new, always remembering to keep a solid stance on the ground.
Visit Naomi’s blog, Numie Abbot.