You dream about a more joyful, rich, and fulfilling life, but right now you just feel…blah. Something is holding you back and holding you down, but what? When you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to seeking a more enriched life, one place you could begin to investigate is your chakras, starting with your root!
Because it is our energy center for our basic needs and safety, symptoms of a blocked root chakra could be a feeling of insecurity. You may feel “stuck.” have a sense that you don’t belong and lack a support system. You may have an unhealthy relationship with food, feel insecure about your finances, hoard personal belongings, or struggle with your sex drive.
Your root chakra, muladhara in Sanskrit, is your basic foundation, the chakra through which all life-force energy passes. If you have instability or hang-ups in regard to your most basic needs, you will definitely struggle in other areas of life as well.
Symptoms of an Unbalanced Root Chakra
- Feeling stuck
- Feeling like you don’t belong
- Insecure about finances
- Sex drive problems
- Feeling insecure, physically or emotionally
- Chronic overeating
- Feeling alone without a support system
Root Chakra Basics
The first known written record of Chcakras is in a thousands year old Hindu text. In much more recent history, the West has latched on to the 7 chakra system, although other chakra systems exist which concentrate on different energy centers.
Life-force energy is believed to flow in the body through certain channels. You can think of chakras as the interchanges where these channels intersect. For the energy to flow freely, the interchanges must be allowing the right amount of energy to pass-not too much and not too little.
Creating a vessel that your life-force energy can pass through in the most healthy and balanced way is the crux of chakra work, and some feel the path toward greater enlightenment.
The root chakra, muladhara, is the base or foundation of the 7 chakra system. It is the first interchange on the highway that all other energy must pass through, so it is vital that it is balanced and healthy!
You can think of the root Chakra as the energy center for your basic survival needs. If you are into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it would bce in the territory of the first few levels of the pyramid.
- Family and Community
- Sense of Belonging
- Connection with the Earth
So we’re talking survival and instinctual needs here. And just like with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it is believed that those primary needs must be met before further development can be successful.
Physically, the root chakra is believed to reside at the base of the spine near the tailbone.
Its location also corresponds with the testes and ovaries, which reinforces the notion that it is connected with family, sex, and primary instincts.
How the Root Chakra Can Become Blocked
Why your root chakra is blocked is not always a simple answer. Because the territory of your root is focused on safety and security, fear can be a powerful culprit that can leave you unbalanced.
Uncertainty, which is really just a more specific type of fear, can also wreak havoc on how stable we view our life and the world. These feelings could be fresh, or they could be decades old.
Reasons a Root Chakra could become unbalanced
- Childhood trauma
- Family discord now or in childhood
- Financial insecurity
- Fear for survival
- Feeling like you don’t fit it
- Events that rock you to your core
Of course this is the very short list and doesn’t begin to cover all of the of the possible reasons that a person could feel insecure or unsafe, but it is a starting point.
How to unblock your Root Chakra
If you have made it this far into the article, there is a good chance that you suspect your root chakra may be in need of some work.
Doing the hard work to understand yourself better to promote personal growth is SO important. It is actually the reason that I write these articles to begin with.
I commend you on investigating how you can be the best version of yourself yourself and find more joy. Below are ways that others have used to balance their root chakra, and I hope you find some of them useful as well.
So when I began learning about the 7 chakra system that is most popular in the West, the thing that confused me most were the associations. Here is a list of some of them so you can see what I’m talking about:
- Musical Note: C
- Color: Red
- Element: Earth
- Stones: Red Jasper, Red Carnelian, Black Tourmaline
- Endocrine System: Testes and Ovaries
What I didn’t understand is WHY these things are associated with the root Cchakra. Was there any rhyme or reason to this?
I researched further and found that, in fact, there are reasons that there are specific sounds, colors, and glands associated with each chakra and I will try to add some of that information here, but I am also working on a post that covers those questions more thoroughly!
Why this matters is that one way that people work on their root chakra is to intentionally incorporate some of these associations into their life. They are often used in conjunction with other practices listed below.
For the root chakra, a common meditation is to visualize a swirling, red vortex of energy at the base of your spine.
You could either envision the color of the red ball becoming more and more vibrant throughout your meditation.
Another option is to envision the ball of red energy getting larger and larger, eventually incorporating the entire room and beyond.
Breath could be incorporated into this in a way where you could envision the red ball of energy getting larger as you feed it on every inhale.
If you are new to meditation, guided meditation is a great place to start. Below is a 10-minute guided meditation from the Great Meditation channel that specifically focuses on the muladhara, the root chakra.
Using the color red
Some people who are working on their root chakra also may begin to wear more red or place more red items in their living or working space.
Do I think that wearing a red bracelet inherently balances your root chakra? I would be skeptical of that, but what it does is serve a visual reminder of the work you are doing to become more balanced.
It also brings your intentions back to your conscious thoughts, which in itself is helpful for any habit or work you are doing.
Some begin to incorporate more red foods into their diet, eating more red berries and beets. Again, I’ve not read anything so far that makes me think that this inherently “fixes” your Root, but it’s another reminder of the intention, and obviously improved diet aids in the healthy function of many systems in your body so it can’t hurt!
Sound waves require matter to transmit energy through. So since we are matter, sounds literally resonate through you as well.
These aren’t just loud sounds you can feel, like at a concert, but all sound waves, even ones in your vicinity that your ears can’t detect.
The scientific community already understands that waves can affect brain and body function, so I am not closing my mind off to the possibility that specific sounds or frequencies can be a catalyst for changes in the body.
The Note of C
Sound Therapy is frequently used in chakra work and the note C is associated specifically with the root chakra.
The association between the two has to do with the frequency of the note C and what is believed to be a similar frequency vibrating through the Root chakra.
Below is an example of sound therapy from the templesounds channel that uses a gong tuned to C to activate the root chakra.
Sound baths are my particular favorite. You can read my fangirl article about sound baths here.
If you have never heard of a sound bath, it is an experience where the practitioner uses instruments to bathe your body in sound. The tones created are intentional and meant to act on the body and energy in a particular way.
Instruments used aren’t those you typically see in a band. Crystal and Tibetan bowls are very commonly used as are gongs and chimes.
Traditionally these were done in person and the waves would resonate directly from the instruments through your body (or bounce around the room first and THEN through your body).
This isn’t a practice commonly found in most smaller cities, but the advent of the internet has made sound baths more accessible to everyone through video. It isn’t the same experience, I’m sure, but worthwhile nonetheless.
If you are even remotely curious about a sound bath, I would HIGHLY recommend it. This is one of the BEST ways that I have success with sitting still and relaxing. The sounds are mystical and calming.
My FAVORITE place to find great online sound bath experiences is the Healing Vibrations channel where you can find any length, topic, and mood for a sound bath that you could ever want!
Below is an online sound bath from Healing Vibrations that uses specific tones focused on bringing more balance to the root chakra.
Each chakra is associated with a particular chant, also called a seed mantra or bija mantra. These are one syllable sounds said over and over again.
The idea is that this sound and vibrations that you make activates a specific chakra.
This does seem a little more hardcore than other forms of meditation since you are making sounds other people may hear, so you either have to be brave or alone to feel comfortable, especially at first!
Many people are uncomfortable even chanting alone, but just like with anything, once you practice a few times you will get more comfortable. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone in this way will also bring you more confidence and self-acceptance.
The root chakra seed mantra to chant is “LAM”. I think it sounds like you are saying “mom” but with an “l”.
To use this seed mantra, you can sit as you would to meditate, close your eyes, and slowly repeat LAM for as long as you wish.
You can incorporate this to the beginning or end of a longer meditation and you could increase your chanting time as you get more comfortable with it.
Another option which may make you feel more comfortable trying this is to play a video of someone else chanting and chant along with them.
Mantram MVS has a great 10-minute video of chanting the LAM seed mantra that a person could easily follow along with.
Affirmations are statements that you are making about yourself. The idea is that when you say them or think them repeatedly, you begin to believe them. And when you begin to believe them, you begin to live them.
For the root chakra specifically, some people also use their affirmations, such as “I am Safe, I am Abundant” and put these written words in their home or office where they will encounter them frequently, bring their attention back to the work they are doing.
They are also used in meditations that focus on affirmations, or a guided meditation with the theme of safety, security and belonging.
Throughout the meditation practice, the affirmation is repeated over and over in the mind, bringing attention back to it repeatedly.
Also, they can be used in conjunction with the breath, repeating the mantra on an inhale or an exhale.
This guided meditation from Theta Thoughts incorporates sounds and affirmations in their video that a beginner could easily follow along with.
Yogis believe that the postures and sequences in yoga aid in the flow of life-force energy. The chakras play a role in this and there are practices specifically designed to balance them, including the root chakra.
Ways that the root can be targeted during a yoga practice include setting an intention at the beginning of the practice to focus your attention on that particular chakra.
Seated poses are grounding in themselves, such as Child’s Pose and Corpse Pose, and can be incorporated into the practice, as can hip opening poses such as Wide-Legged Forward Bend.
The Root is the center for stability so balance poses like the Warrior series and Tree Pose can help with a feeling of connectedness and security as well as confidence.
The Alo Yoga channel has a yoga practice specifically designed to balance your root chakra.
Connecting with the Earth
Because the root chakra is associated with the Earth, while focusing on balancing their root chakra, some try to fit in a daily connection with the planet and nature.
Some ways this can be done is:
- taking more walks outdoors, which could include trying walking meditation
- walking barefoot outdoors when circumstances permit to get a direct body & planet connection
- forest bathing, the Japanese practice of melding mindfulness and nature
- gardening or repotting houseplants, filling living spaces with life
One of the most interesting books I have ever read, The Nature Fix by Florence Williams, is about the connection between nature and our physical and mental health.
She uses data to investigate biological changes brought about by watching ocean waves, smelling the earth after a rain, even the relationship between healthcare outcomes and the access a patient has to nature while hospitalized. It is truly fascinating and I have never looked at waves and trees the same way again.
You can read an excerpt from Florence William’s book here.
I have family that are knowledgeable about the properties of stones and crystals and that absolutely swear by them. I will admit that I am a novice on this topic, but am in the process of learning more.
I DO know that crystals are very commonly used in chakra work in the West.
The idea is that crystals oscillate at a specific frequency. This part is widely-understood and is the reason that quartz is used in electronics from watches to computers because of the stable frequency at which it vibrates.
In energy work, such as that with chakras, it is believed that the frequencies of the crystals can affect the frequencies emitted by our bodies.
Crystals commonly utilized for the root chakra include:
- Red Jasper
- Red Carnelian
- Black Tourmaline
Crystals can be incorporated into your life by simply holding them, keeping one in your pocket, or placing one on your nightstand.
They are commonly placed on the area of the root chakra during meditation or placed around the mat during a yoga practice.
Even though I am a crystal novice, I am drawn to black tourmaline and smokey quartz which I keep in my nightstand and my purse.
Journaling can be very powerful in chakra work because it can be used to explore a current mindset, hang-ups, or thoughts patterns that a person may not realize they have until they investigate.
Journaling is one of my favorite tools because it is simple, easily accessible to everyone, and also because their is something very cathartic about physically putting your thoughts on paper.
People tend to be very honest in journaling. They can surprise themselves.
After journaling, you can look back on what you’ve written to see if patterns or themes exist.
When investigating your root chakra, you may look for an overall theme that you don’t feel worthy. Or, you can notice if you tend to struggle with relationships, your ideas about your financial health, or how you view your own successes, or lack thereof.
Reiki is a type of Japanese energy work where the practitioner transfers energy from the Universe into themselves and then into you.
Although this may sound “super-alternative” as far as a treatment goes, Reiki is actually much more commonly practiced than you may think. My small town of less than 5,000 has a Reiki healer right on the town square (and it’s not me!). Even John Hopkins Medical Center has information about Reiki, saying that you can call them to make an appointment.
Because chakras are energy, Reiki has been used to locate areas where the energy is being blocked and open those areas to allow for a healthier flow.
Blockages in the root chakra is thought to constrict the flow to the rest of the system, so some visit a Reiki Master to help create a more balanced and healthy life.
With Reiki, however, it isn’t completely necessary to visit in person. It can be done over the phone or even Zoom. If you are curious about what a long-distance Reiki session may be like, Well + Good has an article with the author’s account of her experience here. Here is another account from The Thirty.
Because their is no scientific or medical evidence that directly supports the existence of chakras or any of these methods, my current feelings about all of this is:
- None of these methods are innately harmful that I can see, so if they help or bring about change, then does it matter if there is evidence of efficacy?
- Even if these produce a placebo affect, a placebo affect is the brain bringing change to the body with intention alone. Where the attention goes energy flows. I think the placebo affect is incredible, and even if that is all that is at play here, that is powerful enough for me to continue learning more. But, these are my current opinions only, you make up your own mind!
However you decide to work on your root chakra, I hope you find a more balanced and full life!