“To lose our connection with the body is to become spiritually homeless. Without an anchor we float aimlessly, battered by the winds and waves of life.” Anodea Judith
This week got me thinking about seven intentions and seven chakras. The correlation hadn’t occurred to me when I thought of creating seven intentions, nor had the order of the intentions seemed anything other than random. However after spending time researching and meditating on the base chakra this week, I realised that my first intention is home, and that the base chakra is all about feeling ‘at home’ in the physical world and in your body.
Whether you think of the seven energy chakras as an useful analogy or as literal energy centres, learning about them is fascinating. For a quick overview, check out this flash by Caroline Myss.
Many modern meditation techniques, which focus on visualisation and consciousness in the higher chakras, can leave you feeling ungrounded because until your lower chakras are balanced, like a tree without strong roots, your whole system is undermined.
As the result of a shamanic healing last week, I am activating and integrating my lower chakras, especially the base chakra. According to the healer, as a result of some childhood trauma between the age of birth and seven, my energy centres had ‘parted ways’. Essentially my base and sacral chakra had decided “this physical reality stuff bites, we’re out of here. Sayonara suckers” and left the building. Obviously the chakras cannot actually go anywhere, so they just shut down and the energy ceases to flow there. As such I have been operating from the other five chakras ever since. So what does that mean? Does it matter? Aren’t the higher chakras better anyway?
Located at the base of the spine at the coccyx bone, the Root or Base Chakra is said to govern your energetic expression of self-preservation, personal survival, integrity, and your identification with the physical world, including your own body. It represents your sense of security and safety in the world. It influences your adrenals, kidneys, muscles, and arterial blood. It is the foundation of energy in the body. It manifests strongly in the motivation to ensure personal survival by way of food, rest, shelter, and sexual expression.
Called Muladhara in Sanskrit, which means root support, the base chakra is like the root system of a tree, the foundation of your entire chakra system. Without a strong base chakra, your entire chakra system can be compromised.
The root chakra reflects your inherited family and societal beliefs from your formative years. Think of it as your tribal chakra, connecting you with the collective wisdom and vibe of your tribe. If there was instability or trauma during your formative years, and you learnt to view the world as an unsafe place, then issues of survival, emotional dysfunction, fear of abandonment, fear of letting go, scarcity, poor boundaries, anxiousness, and restlessness, may affect you. You may feel as if you have no real home, that you cannot settle in and feel safe in the world. Or you may have a fear of any change to your sense of security.
I have to admit, I had believed that in modern Western societies, our lower chakras were already (over)activated because of our obsessive focus on the physical, sexual, and material. As such I had given more attention to developing my higher chakras, especially my heart and crown. And many modern meditation techniques seem to focus there also. However trying to develop these higher chakras is fruitless if our roots are not balanced and stable.
Anodea Judith writes that:
“The upper chakras in most people were waiting for the foundation below them to be strong enough to support their opening. The wounds to the lower chakras were common: physical and sexual abuse, oppressive power dynamics, betrayal of the heart.”
Some signs that the Base Chakra is out of balance are:
- Joint pain
- Lower backache
- Elimination problems
- Unhealthy relationship with food: obesity or anorexia
- Poor immune system function
- Low blood pressure
- Feeling restless/flighty
- Lack of energy
- Anemia/blood disorders
- Loss of interest in reality or survival or living in a fantasy world
- Volatile emotions
- Obsession and self-obsession
This may sound like new age mumbo-jumbo. But the fact is chakras and energy healing have been practised for thousands of years in many respected medical disciplines from yoga, tao, qigong, acupuncture, tantra, reiki, tapping, kinesiology, homeopathy, and even in allopathic medicine in the form of electromagnetic radiation as radiation therapy, or magnetic resonance imaging.
It’s interesting how many idioms relate to the concept of the root chakra, we talk about our roots – meaning our family ancestry – about ideas taking root, and about feeling grounded.
The renowned psychotherapist Carl Jung became fascinated with the chakras, and saw them as a way to explain the development of the human psyche. His book, the Psychology of Kundalini Yoga, translates yogic understanding into psychological terms.
If you think of the chakras a little like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is a pyramid that expresses human needs in psychological terms, the basic needs must be met before you can address spiritual needs. Not just the physical necessities of food and shelter, but most importantly the feeling of being emotionally secure and safe, and free of fear.
It’s interesting to me that all my physical ailments: anaemia, low blood pressure, fatigue, digestion, brain fog, dizziness, anxiety, and a sense of unreality, are all described as symptomatic of the unbalanced base chakra. Whether or not you believe in the chakra system and its effects on the body systems, anecdotally since I have been practising some techniques for integrating my base chakra, I have notice an influx of energy and heat into my body. Often low blood pressure causes a drop in body temperature and metabolism, I believe the heat is the strengthening of my blood pressure and increase in metabolic energy in my body.
Natalie Southgate from Chakradance recommends playing in the base chakra by hugging a tree, wearing red, walking barefoot on the grass, choosing red foods, eating protein, relishing and strengthening your body with grounding exercise like hatha yoga and pranayama breathing.
Here’s some affirming statements for strengthening and balancing the base chakra:
“I am strong, safe, and secure in the world. All my needs are being met for my ultimate wellbeing. I am fully integrated in all aspects of my being. My body supports me. I love every part of my body. I am filled with energy and vitality. I am home.”
And if you are interested in playing some more with the muladhara, below I have included some information and exercises for the base chakra.
Further reading on base chakra:
http://yinyangyogis.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/muladhara-chakra-pranayama/ (base chakra breathing exercise)
http://theresekerr.com/the-base-chakra-the-key-to-our-grounding/ (including tree meditation exercise)
http://www.soulpathawakening.com/chakras/index.php (includes meditation audio)