Chakra translates to wheel or disk, and there are 7 majors ‘wheels’ located in our bodies. These chakras, or energy centers in our body correlate to our levels of consciousness, starting at the base of our spine with the most primitive level of consciousness and moving up the body to the 7th, or crown, chakra and the highest level of consciousness. The seven chakras are: Muladhara (Root), Svadhisthana (Sweetness), Manipura (Lustrous Gem), Anahata (Unstuck), Vissudha (Purification), Ajna (Command Center), and Sahasara (Thousand-fold).
By looking to and studying the chakras we are able to find a deeper understanding of ourselves. To begin the path of better understanding ourselves we look at the foundation of the chakras, Muladhara or root support. The first chakra is located at the base of the spine and relates directly to our feeling of safety and our need for survival. When the Muladhara chakra is balanced one is comfortable in their body, well grounded, and has a sense of trust in the world.
If this chakra is out of balance it manifests in excess as hoarding, greed, and fear of change. Deficiency shows up as anxiousness, restlessness, and poor focus. A healing strategy to bring this chakra back into a place of balance is to ground yourself by reconnecting with the body through physical activity, such as hatha yoga.
Grounding is a process of dynamic contact with the earth. Without grounding we are unstable. We loose our center, can fly off the handle, or are lost in a day dreamy fantasy world. Through our connection with the earth, our roots we are able to gain nourishment, stability, and growth. Here is a simple exercise of grounding to try out:
Real Life Practice: Come to standing position, straighten your legs and allow your feet to root into the earth. Close your eyes and feel the connection with the floor, the texture of the earth beneath you. With each inhale lengthen your body and each exhale press your feet strongly and evenly into the support of the floor. Slowly open your eyes and notice if you feel more grounded, secure, and free.
The task of mastering the first chakra is ultimately an understanding and healing of our bodies. Learning to accept our body, feel it, validate it, love it – these are the changes that await us here. That is why hatha yoga is the yoga of this chakra. It reconnects us to our roots, to our physical selves. We can begin to love and appreciate our bodies and move past the bonds of discomfort, hate or even disconnection from the body.
Want to learn more about the chakras? Join Ashley Turner this summer at Kriplau for the Chakra Detox Immersion: A Complete Physical, Mental + Emotional Detox, July 1-6, 2012. A one-of-a-kind multi-media immersion to demystify the chakras.