The Muladhara Chakra forms the foundation for the seven chakra, or energy, system that's believed to manage the subtle body. It's located at the base of the spine and includes the pelvic floor and the three lowermost vertebrae. This chakra, aptly known as your root chakra, is said to be your foundation and source of stability. It governs all that is familiar to you on a daily basis, from your home, job and basic needs, such as food, water and personal safety.
When the root chakra is out of balance, you feel insecure and might mistrust those around you. You may be quick to anger and be controlling, or lack the ability to achieve simple life goals. A strong, healthy root chakra means you're grounded, secure and confident. Common disorders associated with an insufficient root chakra are anxiety disorders and irrational fears. Physically, your colon, bladder, lower back, legs or feet may be affected — think constipation, bladder infections, prostate problems, foot pain, gout and eating disorders.
Yoga offers multiple ways to improve balance in your root chakra and put you on a path of healing, so you create the foundation to open the other six chakras.
Yoga poses offer numerous ways to stimulate the root chakra. Indulge in a vigorous practice with multiple standing poses, such as Warrior I, Warrior II, Standing Forward Bend and Mountain. Balancing poses also hone your root — include Tree, Balancing Half Moon and One-Legged Mountain, for example.
If you're looking to restore balance in your root chakra with a restorative approach, grounding, mat-based poses are also of value. Start in Easy pose, which looks like a simple cross-legged position on the floor, then do a Single-Leg Seated Forward Fold on each side and finally move into a reclined posture with your back supported by a bolster and your legs swaddled with a blanket. Finish with Legs up the Wall to soothe the feet and legs physically.
Breath and Meditation
Deep breathing while in Easy pose can stimulate the root chakra, especially if you consciously try to feel the ground underneath you. To deepen this connection, take your deep breathing meditation outdoors and lay your mat, or sit directly, on the earth.
A complete, or three-part, breath deepens your meditation and connects you more thoroughly to your root chakra. To do the three-part breath, inhale through your nose and direct the air toward your lower diaphragm, as you continue to breathe in focus on filling up the middle and then upper chest. Release the breath, also through the nose, first from the upper chest, then the middle and finally from diaphragm. Take six to eight counts to inhale and an equal number to exhale.
Visualizing the root chakra color of red is another way to exercise this chakra zone. Focus on your nose and become aware of any odors as you breathe and meditate. The sense of smell is associated with the root chakra.
Repeating a mantra while you meditate further grounds you. The sound "LAM" brings awareness to the root chakra. Hum it to yourself, or repeat it rhythmically out loud.