Yogis believe that energy channels run through the body and these are called Nadis. There are said to be 72,000 of these within each human body! These Nadis move the energy through the body with the intention of ultimately moving the energy upwards and through the energy junctions located in the spine or “Chakras”. The word Chakra means “wheel” and these chakras are said to be spinning wheels of energy.
There are 7 chakras starting at the base of the spine, moving up through the spine, with the 7th and final chakra being located at the crown of the head – if the energy makes it up here you are very spiritual and may even achieve enlightenment!
One of the intentions of our yoga practice is to firstly start to enable energy to flow freely through the body. There may be blocks in the nadis, in which case the energy can’t move as it should. Think of it like a fine electrical wire with a kink in it – the electricity can’t flow freely. Reminds me of ALL my Apple chargers…!
So our yoga practice starts to straighten out the kinks and the energy starts to flow in the proper direction. It will arrive at the first chakra - Muladhara, the root.
Muladhara is located at the base of the spine. The colour is red – interestingly the chakra colours are the same as the colours of the rainbow – and the element is earth. So this chakra is concerned with basic human needs – food, shelter, livelihood, and security and is the raw, static energy of life. It is said to form the border between human and animal consciousness and linked to the unconscious mind.
If Muladhara chakra is out of balance perhaps because of life circumstance beyond your control such as illness, worrying about having a job, paying bills, or where you can live, you will feel very un-rooted. This makes it hard to focus on anything else – I think we’ve probably all been at that place at one point or another in our lives, or maybe you are currently experiencing this feeling. At the other end of the spectrum if this chakra is overactive you may become impatient, and over materialistic and too rooted – heavy and stagnant.
If your Muladhara is balanced and open you feel grounded and at ease.
We can cultivate and establish a sense of Muladhara through our yoga practice despite what is happening externally. This chakra is connected physically to the pelvis, legs and feet – so yoga asanas that ground us are beneficial, such as mountain pose (Tadasana).
These type of poses do feel very earthy so can actually also be quite cooling. I like to compare it to when an animal such as an elephant or pig bathes in mud to cool off.
In my Yoga classes in London we have been exploring this chakra for the past week of classes as we start a 7 week journey through the chakra system. This week we move onto Swadhistana - water. If you are based in North London join me for a class!