The Muladhara Chakra, or root charka, lies at the base of the spine (beneath the coccyx) and is where dormant kundalini resides. It is from this chakra that we ground ourselves to the earth, taking in energy that rises up towards the crown chakra. It is symbolised by four red petals surrounding a yellow square that represents the earth. The colour red symbolises an awakening, a movement from sleeping to life. It is also the colour of Shakti (energy). ‘Mula’ comes from ‘root’ and ‘dhara’ means support. The four Sanskrit syllables written on the petals are van, am, sham and sam.
The awakening of the kundalini starts in the root chakra. Keeping this chakra strong and centered allows us to channel energy upwards towards the crown chakra. This is the awakening of the person, the growing consciousness and awareness that we feel as we travel our spiritual path. The red of Muladhara transforms as it rises into the white of the crown chakra (Sahaswara). The activation point of Muladhara is between the anus and the genitals – the perineum. This also corresponds with the acupuncture point CV1 in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is the point where the Conception Vessel meets the Governing Vessel, thus completing a circuit of energy that rises up along the posterior (i.e the Yang area of the body) and returns via the anterior (Yin area) body.
In Kabbalah, the lowest sephirot is Malkuth (‘Kingdom’) and it relates to the physical world and the earth. Saturn, being the ruling planet of agriculture, is associated with Muladhara due to its connection to the earth.
This chakra focuses on grounding, support and security. It is our base day to day survival – for some that may mean financial security, for others it will mean a healthy body or a secure relationship. Whatever gives us that feeling of grounding in our lives derives from our root chakra. If we feel disconnected, alone or insecure, very often we find a blockage in this chakra which we can work on. When this chakra is weak, we suffer by being unable to control our impulses or desires. We may become lazy and self centered, almost like a spoiled child that thinks they are aloof from everything going on around them.
It is too easy to dismiss this chakra in our journey because it is the first or lowest chakra. But the importance of having a strong base from which to work cannot be overstated. Think of it like a strong root system that that penetrates deep into the earth, supporting and maintaining the plant even through the roughest of storms. Ignoring our root chakra means we are working with a weak and undeveloped source of energy. Our spiritual energy derives from having a strong root system so working on our root chakra awakens the dormant kundalini within us and begins our journey to self realisation. On this journey, our kundalini will awaken all other chakras until it finally reaches the crown chakra.
In material terms, people with a strong root chakra are devoted to security, wellbeing, family life and financial security. They are also strongly connected to nature and find peace there. With great stamina, these people can persevere where others would simply give up.
It is believed that all our actions in this life and past lives plant a tiny seed in our root chakra. These then come into the light as we progress but they are the source of our happiness or unhappiness in this life. If we carried out a lot of negative actions in previous lives, this can cause us unhappiness now and we must work to resolve these past actions and thus balance our karma. When we awaken this charkra, we should be prepared to experience a range of emotions – it is like delving into a locked box and we are poking all the seeds that we have deposited there over many lives! When we open this box, we may find explosive anger or unrestricted joy – depending on what we have left there before! It really is our unconscious memory and we delve into it to set ourselves free and bring us to a heightened awareness of our journey.
Lord Shiva is the divinity associated with Muladhara or ‘Master of the animals’. Representing liberation, Lord Shiva then is the process by which we ‘liberate’ the locked subconscious energy of Muladhara. Being Master of the Animals also means that we should keep our animal instincts under control rather than existing in a state of base craving all the time. The elephant is used to represent this chakra, an elephant with seven trunks which represent an array of seven meanings – the seven treasures of the earth, the seven levels of consciousness, the seven precious gems of the earth and the seven basic materials of the body. The elephant in Indian mythology is seen as bringing prosperity and wisdom. This is the elephant of Brahma, the creator, who brought knowledge and creation.
The sound of Muladhara is ‘Lam’. The chanting of Lam releases energy blockages in our root system and helps awaken the energy located there – including all the seeds that have been hidden in our subconscious. If our root chakra is out of balance then it can sometimes be easier bring things back into balance by working on our other chakras – especially the crown chakra.
If our root chakra is strong, our ‘structural’ elements in the body will be strong such as our bones, teeth and nails. Similarly, our large intestine will eliminate waste efficiently. Health problems associated with a weak root chakra are digestive disorders, lower back pain (including sciatica), pain in legs and feet, varicose veins, allergies and illness associated with stress.
Herbs associate with the root chakra are cloves, rosemary and cedar. Elder and lime blossom are also good for stimulating the chakra. The wavelength of this chakra is 625 – 740 NM and Frequency of 400 – 484 THz.
Physically, we can help awaken this chakra by exercising regularly. Spending time outdoors, particularly, barefoot, help direct energy towards Muladhara. Anything red is associated with the chakra (sunsets/sunrises!) and foot massages also work well. The chanting of Lam works on the same vibrational frequency as the chakra.
In Yoga, any pose (‘asana’) that works the groin area will strengthen Muladhara. For example, Malasana, Sukhasana, Balasana, Uttanasana, Warrior II and Bridge pose.