(Note:This information was originally shared as 5 separate posts in my Facebook group, Dandelion Sisterhood.)
The chakras are addressed in order from the first to the seventh, with the first being located at the base of the spine and the seventh being located about an inch above the top of the head. Today, we are focusing on the first chakra, Muladhara, also known as the root chakra.
As you can see in the image below, the root chakra is associated with the color red, and it governs all things related to home, survival, trust, and money. This includes things like how you sleep, the physical state of your home, financial issues, physical problems involving the feet, hips, legs, the large intestines, your bones and blood, and emotional issues like anger (too little or too much) and insecurity (or arrogance).
Root chakra issues develop in the very early years, though there is some debate as to exactly what ages. If your parents or caregivers gave you a sense of security, if there was always enough to eat, there was shelter, clothing, and all your basic needs were met, if they were nurturing, and you felt loved and safe, you developed a balanced, healthy root chakra. Most of us did not have that experience, though, and we developed feelings of insecurity, fear and mistrust of caregivers and authority figures and sometimes the world at large.
This is why root chakra issues can be so difficult to address: they are often subconscious beliefs, firmly seated in our psyche, and typically manifest as a core belief that we are not enough just as we are, that our safety and security is at risk.
Sometimes, we overcompensate for a lack of security in childhood by cultivating an overactive root chakra. This may look like greed, materialism, arrogance, and excessive anger, and it is an attempt to provide ourselves with the safety and security we have felt lacking.
Muladhara and Scent
Because of its location at the base of the spine, the root chakra is our connection to Earth. Of the physical senses, it is most strongly associated with smell, which, in turn, is directly connected to the formation of memory. Scientific studies have shown that the sense of smell is wired directly to the part of our brains called the reptilian brain: that primitive part of ourselves that reacts by instinct. It is the same center associated with our fight or flight mechanism.
Scents can be a powerful healing tool for the root chakra because of all these facts. Think of your comfort scents: vanilla, food cooking – especially garlic and onions- dirt and rain, the spicy scent of a loved one’s skin. And, if you are like most of us, there are smells you absolutely cannot tolerate because of their associations.
The infographic below lists some of the most common smells associated with the root chakra. You’ll notice these are earthy, warm smells. They can be introduced into your environment in a number of ways: essential oils can be used with a lotion or other carrier and rubbed directly on the skin, they can be used in perfume or simply dropped onto the sleeve of a shirt or jacket and sniffed throughout the day; cooking smells can be enjoyed any time you make a meal with earthy, rooted ingredients by simply taking a moment to inhale deeply and imagine the loving, healing energy flowing to the glowing red light of your 1st chakra and picturing it growing brighter and clearer; you can light scented candles or incense or sit on your porch for a moment while it rains and let the smells of wet earth and ozone wash over you. When combined with the root chakra’s signature color, red, scents can become even more powerfully healing. One of my favorite combinations is a red cable knit sweater I wear in the winter and a drop of patchouli on the collar. It makes me feel nurtured, safe, and at home wherever I go.
Have some fun experimenting with scent. See which ones evoke that cozy, safe feeling, and wear those more often. With winter coming quickly here in the Northern Hemisphere, it is easier to find those spicy smells that most epitomize those feelings. So, if you need an extra reason to indulge in cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, this is it!
Healing the First Chakra With Food
The first three chakras deal with how we are present in the physical world, and food is an important part of that. The root chakra loves foods that have grown underground, like potatoes, carrots, and parsnips, as well as red foods and foods that contain a lot of protein and iron.
If you are actively addressing root chakra issues, try to include a root chakra food in your diet a few times a day. This can be as simple as having a handful of red grapes for a snack, some potatoes (any variety) with dinner, and maybe a glass of red wine or a cup of rooibos (red) tea before bed (it has no caffeine). Be mindful as you eat of how this food or drink will nourish and nurture your connection with the Earth. Mindfulness doesn’t have to look like eating in complete silence while doing your best imitation of a monk! A quick thank you to the Universe, and an awareness of the connection between the food or drink and your root chakra is enough to set the intention that you want what you are about to consume to bring healing and joy to this part of your energetic body.
Dance Your Way to Balance
Movement is an excellent tool for working loose root chakra issues, and the more fun and/or relaxing you can make it, the better it will work. Keep in mind that the root chakra is related to the hips, legs, knees, spine, and blood, so any movement that results in energy to these areas will be effective, whether it is walking, running, stretching, yoga, dancing, or just stomping around your house like an ogre! Also, if you can do any of these things outside, you increase their effectiveness in clearing 1st chakra imbalances.
Dancing works particularly well because of the music involved. Music is well known to have a direct, measurable effect on the body, and music with heavy drumbeats or strong rhythms is perfect for the root chakra. It echoes the sound of heartbeats (blood, womb, and early childhood associations).
Personal Favorite Tools
I am going to share two of my personal favorite tools to use in working with the base chakra: stones and affirmations.
Stones and crystals hold a power all their own. As we know, everything is energy. The same is true of stones and crystals, and some of them vibrate at frequencies particularly beneficial in healing and clearing the first chakra. My favorites are black tourmaline, smoky quartz, hematite, bloodstone, carnelian, and any reddish stones I find on the ground that give me the same, solid, grounded feeling. If I am unfamiliar with a stone, I will hold it for a few minutes, and feel into each chakra to try to sense where in my body I connect with that particular piece. That process is usually as simple as focusing on each chakra, in turn, and seeing if I can sense a change in it. If the change feels good, the new rock goes into my pocket! This is also part of the process for how I choose a stone for the day.
I very often hold a stone in one or both hands while meditating, writing mantras or affirmations, or when I just feel the need for extra grounding. You don’t even have to do anything special, just have it near you. Jewelry works well for this purpose.
Here is one of my favorite, most powerful rituals: At the end of the day, just before sleep, I gather my notebook, pen, crystals or stones, and decide on the affirmation I want to work with. I will place the stones either on the table next to my notebook, or hold one in the my non-writing hand. I will write the chosen affirmation or mantra over and over for at least one full page, sometimes two, if it feels like I need to. Then, I go directly to sleep (or as directly as possible), with the affirmation still repeating in my mind.
Sleeping with root chakra crystals or stones in my pillow case or near my bed is not something I like to do, however, as I often experience nightmares. (Remember, the root chakra is blocked by fear and you just told it to let go of that fear. The crystals will magnify that release, and since you are going to sleep, dreams are the natural outlet. )
Experiment with what calls to you, and you will soon have your own set of root chakra balancing tools.