Yoga Poses For The Root Chakra
The root chakra is the first or base chakra in the human chakra system, known as Muladhara in sanskrit and located at the base of the spine, the perineum and the pelvic floor. It is colored Red, associated with the Earth element and Grounding and the properties of security, safety, finances, physical health and Abundance.
When healthy and in balance, the Root chakra manifests as a supportive home life, strong foundations in life, stability, security, good health and the ability to face lifes´challenges with strength and grace.
Imbalanced, this chakra can show up as physical issues within the body, emotional issues such as depression , anxiety, fear, guilt, resentment, lack of focus, restlessness, not feeling at home anywhere and fear of being abandoned. Common physical ailments include constipation, circulation issues, weak legs, sciatica and eating disorders.
HEALING THE ROOT CHAKRA
This article looks specifically at yoga poses for the root chakra, whilst part II of the article (see blog) addresses other holistic methods to soothe this chakra back into balance.
YOGA POSES FOR THE ROOT CHAKRA:
Yoga poses are excellent for soothing an imbalanced root chakra, specifically Standing Poses and Forward Bends, as they strengthen and open the lower body. Standing Poses also root the attention downwards, whilst Forward Bends work to loosen tight hamstrings, counteracting the fight-or-flight response the body often adopts when suffering from an out-of-whack root chakra.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
This seemingly simple, yet powerful and effective grounding pose, works on the entire body. It increases awareness of yourself inside your own body and simultaneously increases the feeling of connectedness to the Earth beneath you.
1. Stand with the feet together, big toes touching, the outer edges of the feet parallel. Open the chest and gaze forward, chin parallel to the ground. Relax the arms by the sides
2. Distribute the weight evenly across all 4 corners of the feet. Inhale and exhale long, deep breathes, enjoying the feeling of the air expanding into unused spaces of the body.
3. Now, visualize beams of white light shooting down from each 4 corner of the foot and down into the centre of the Earth. The white light firmly roots you down, grounding you.
4. Next, imagine that there is a swirling mass of sparking, glowing red energy at the centre of the Earth. This energy is now radiating up through the soles of your feet, permeating them. See this red energy come up your legs and fill your pelvic bowl. Simultaneously, lift the spine and firm the shoulderblades down, keeping the upper body connected with the sky. Enjoy the feeling of the love, stability and connection to Earth through this rooting, grounding red light.
Warrior I (Vrbhdrasana I)
Warrior I will strengthen the legs, knees and the lower back. It is a strong, empowering pose that inspires confidence and firmly roots the attention downwards.
1. Stand in Tadasana. Exhale and step the left leg back , facing both feet forwards. Legs are around 1 leg width apart. The heel will probably be off the ground
2. Inhale. This time as you exhale, bend the right knee above the toes and begin to lower the body. Engage the pelvic floor and try to bring the right thigh parallel to the ground. Power up and open out through the back leg
3. Inhale, raising the arms above the head. Face the palms towards each other or together in prayer position above the head. Reach tall
4. Hold for 5 breaths. To come out of the pose, inhale and lower the arms, then step the legs back together. Come back to Tadasana pose
Warrior II (Vrbhdrasana II)
Warrior II also strengthens and roots the legs and pelvis, and empowers you to face their fears confidently and head on.
1. Stand in Tadasana. Exhale and step the left leg back, turning the foot outwards about 45degrees and have the legs about a leg width apart.
2. Inhale, raising the arms to shoulder height, parallel to the ground. Gaze down the right fingertips
3. Exhale, bend the right knee above the toes and begin to lower the body. Keep the arms lifted. Try to get the right thigh parallel to the ground. Keep the gaze down the right fingertips
4. Hold for 5 breaths. To come out of the pose, exhale, lower the arms and step the legs back together. Come back to Tadasana pose
Tree Pose (Vrkasana)
Tree Pose is amazing for connecting to the Earth energy. You will feel the Earth energy drawn up from below you and the sky energy rising above you, creating perfect balance and harmony. Tree pose also strengthens and stretches the feet, ankles, calves and thighs and is excellent for blood circulation in the legs, making this the perfect grounding pose.
1. Begin in Tadasana pose. Inhale, bend the right knee and catch the right foot with your hands. Shift your weight to the left foot to balance
2. Exhale, plant the sole of the right foot firmly on your inner left calve, or inner thigh, wherever is best for you. Point the toes down towards the ground
3. Inhale and slowly raise the arms to clasp the hands in prayer position infront of the heart. Gaze at a fixed point in front of you
4. Imagine red Earth energy radiating up from the centre of the Earth and up through the soles of the feet. Imagine this light moving up through your calves, then thighs and filling the pelvis. Everything below the navel is drawing down into the Earth. Meanwhile, feel as though everything above the navel is being drawn lightly up into the sky. You are being drawn in 2 different directions, balanced and in perfect harmony
5. Stay here for 5 breaths. To release the pose, exhale and lower the hands and the leg, gently shaking the leg out.
Garland Squat (Malasana)
Malasana brings us physically closer to the Earth and physically strengthens the ankles, calves and lower back. All yogic squats work to balance the root chakra.
1. Stand in Tadasana, inhale and step the right foot out. The feet are slightly wider than hip-width apart. Turn the toes outwards
2. Exhale and bend your knees, lower your hips slowly to the ground. Bring the hands in Anjali Mudra (prayer position) in front of the heart.
3. Check that the knees are facing in the same direction as the toes (rather than collapsing inwards). You can use the elbows to gently press against the inside of the legs to help with this. Over time, the legs will be strong enough to do this without the elbows help.
4. Rest the thighs on the backs of the calves, inhale and lengthen the spine. Place the hands on the floor in front of you if you lose the balance. Feel rooted to the ground and imagine drawing up apana vayu- downwards energy- from the Earth beneath you.
5. Stay in the pose 5-8 breaths. To release the pose, inhale and scoop the hips up high til the legs are nearly straight. Exhale, keep a slight bend in the knees and unfold the body up to tadasana, hands in prayer position. Release the hands
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Corpse Pose allows you to completely sink and surrender your body into the floor. Corpse Pose uses large surface area of the body to sink deeply into the Earth, yielding a even greater grounding and relaxation.
1. Lie on the floor, facing upwards. Have the feet slightly apart and arms down by the sides, palms facing up.
2. Inhale, draw the shoulderblades slightly down and back, opening up the chest.
3. Take long deep inhales, enjoying the sensation of your breath occupying spaces of your body. With each exhale, feel the weight of the front body sinking into the weight of the back body. Feel as if you´re floating 3-4 feet beneath the Earth.
4. Stay in Savasana for 5-10 minutes. When you´re ready to come out of this meditative state, slowly curl up on your right side, push the left palm into the floor and come up into a seated position.