The root chakra, or muladhara in Sanskrit, is where everything begins.
When you hear the word “root,” what do you see in your mind’s eye? Is it a plant, or a tree? Is it a sprawling visual of a system designed to sustain a living organism? I won’t put too fine a point on it, but everything that comes to mind is the encompassed by the root chakra system. And when it’s blocked or imbalanced, the energy flow represented in your visual stops.
You might want to gain more of an understanding of the chakras. Read more about the chakras as a system here, but if you’re ready to move on to learn how to build a class around this system, read on.
Root Chakra Characteristics
This chakra is at the base of the spine and, fittingly, it’s linked to the Earth element. It’s also linked to feelings of security, safety, and survival, and the color red. When this chakra is balanced, you’ll feel focused and present in your endeavors. You’ll feel capable, with the ability to care for yourself and others appropriately, and have a sense of belonging. At its heart, this chakra ensures that we feel grounded, connected to the self as well as others, and have the drive to thrive.
And when it’s out of balance? Flip all those qualities to their opposites. It’s not a great feeling. Healthline has a few examples of how it can affect people in physical, emotional and spiritual ways:
- difficulty sleeping
- constipation and bowel issues
- weight gain or loss
- weakened immunity
- issues in the lower body, including the lower back, legs, feet, knees, and the base of the spine
- feeling unsafe, unstable, anxious, and fearful
- feeling ungrounded or even dissociated
- erratic behavior
- depression and lack of motivation
- living in “survival mode”
- negativity and cynicism
- inability to trust in the Earth to support and nourish you
- doubt about your place in the universe
- existential crisis or crisis of faith
- loss of will
Certainly, most people won’t experience all of these. But even feeling a few is enough to knock anyone off kilter.
Elements of a Root Chakra Yoga Class
There are a few elements involved in how I’m building my root chakra yoga class. As you can see, I’m building an immersive experience for my students. Notwithstanding, I think it’ll be a great chakra balancing yoga class.
I’ve created a playlist that includes several tracks at 396Hz, which is said to target the root chakra:
In addition to this playlist for the class, we’ll also do a little chanting or mantra with the word ‘lam’ in a guided visualization. You can also use some specific affirmations to focus on the root chakra, like ‘I am safe;’ ‘I am secure;’ ‘The earth nourishes and supports me.’
Root Meditation Visualization
- Bring your attention to your root chakra at the base of the pelvis.
- Visualize the trunk of your favorite tree growing down from the base of your spine.
- Breathe deeply in and out as you feel yourself held and grounded into the support of the Earth.
- With each exhalation release what no longer serves you. Send it down the tree trunk and into the Earth.
- With each inhalation, imagine drinking in the exact nourishment your body needs today.
- Sit with this visualization for 5 to 10 slow deep breaths, feeling yourself embraced and supported by the Earth.
(I’ll prompt them to chant LAM as well here).
In this meditation, I’m excited to guide them for the final 5 minutes of class to hopefully feel more centered and grounded.
While I’ll use a similar approach for all classes through the end of the year, I’ll focus on few poses specifically relating to the root chakras of my students.
- Malasana, or garland pose
- Uttanasana, or standing forward fold
- Utkatasana, or chair pose
- Warrior 1 -> warrior 2 transition
- Vrksasana, or tree pose
- Setu bandha, or bridge pose activated version
Finally, my classes are set to start next week. I’m doing a few new things at YogaFresh in Woodbury, Minnesota, and River Valley Athletic Club. Can’t wait to see you in class, and if we don’t connect, I’d love to chat with you here.