What are Chakras and how can we use them?
Chakra Yoga asks us to explore deeper dimensions of our personal practice. Chakras are one way of looking at the personality. If there’s something within ourselves that needs work or needs to change, the chakra system is the map to take us to where we want to be. All we really need is to get out of our ‘dramas’ and become our true potential. By learning about the chakra model we are given insight into our own personality-our own style of interacting with our physical and social environment. With this insight we can then uncover what is no longer working for us and make some changes. Kind of like updating our modern day gadgets software, we need to do this to our own nervous systems occasionally too. Chakra yoga gives us wisdom to take with us off the mat and into our day to day lives for a fulfilling and harmonious physical and social life. There are 7 main energy centres in Yoga philosophy. Here we’ll explore some of the themes of the first Chakra Muladhara.
Chakra Muladhara or Root Chakra – Colour Red
Muladhara is the first step of our sacred journey of healing. This is the most important chakra as it is our foundation stone upon which we build. Its main themes are grounding, family and security. We must feel safe and have our basic needs met (food/shelter), otherwise we are still in survival consciousness or fear state. Fear is a useful tool that can keep us safe in dangerous situations but when we are holding on to fears, worries or concerns from yesteryear we are stopping ourselves from living in the safety and nurturing space of present time. Issues related to family affect this chakra. It is our tribal centre, its colour is red like blood. Wearing, eating and visualising red help connect us to this chakra. It is useful to understand our ancestors/bloodline when healing this centre as this helps us understand a lot about ourselves. The lesson of this chakra is all is one. We are but one cell in the body of this planet Earth. With our feet firmly planted on the ground we are held by the strong Earth. We are reminded that we are supported by this nurturing life filled planet and are safe. With a healthy Muladhara we feel at home in our bodies and on the planet, the feeling of unity and connection this brings helps us feel safe, secure and energised.
Feeling lost, depressed, disconnected, lethargic or stuck are signs Muladhara is out of alignment.
3 ways to help realign your base chakra
This is a simple healing tool that lots of people deprive themselves of. In this modern world we live in it is important to counterpose its fast pace with some stillness for the health of our nervous system. Just 2 minutes of stillness change the brain waves to a slower rhythm. Start with 5-10 minutes of sitting in a comfortable meditation position or lying down. Try not to fall into a sleep state, instead be fully aware of present time. Your breath and body are always in the present moment. Meditate on how your breath feels today. Observe its rhythm. Connecting to your breath is a powerful yet simple way to harmonise Muladhara, as we are connecting to that sacred flow of life within. Feel gratitude for that life and feel the age old wisdom in its flow. Inhale new possibilities and exhale the fears of yesteryear.
All asana with both feet on the ground promote healthy roots. Both feet are firmly connected to the ground. I particularly like warrior 2 for this as it gives you a chance to own your space and take up some room.
For this step feet apart and spread your arms out to shoulder height. Your heels should be under your wrists. Then turn your right foot out 90 degrees and turn left foot in slightly. Hips still facing forward. Bend right knee so it is directly over your heel and not past the toe. Let the hips soften towards the earth and spread arms out like wings. Feel strong and look past the right fingertips with fire in your dristi (gaze). Feel powerful and energised. Own your space.
Pranayama for connection and healing
This is a visualisation and pranayama that helps us to reconnect with the essential theme of oneness. It connects us to our inherent power for healing ourselves and others through intent.
Find somewhere to sit or lie down undisturbed for 5-20 minutes. Maybe set a timer.
Take a deep breath in and draw the healing power of love into your body, feel it restore your very cells. Then as you exhale send the rejuvenating power of love out to some anonymous person on the planet who really needs it at this very moment in time. Inhale and receive love and exhale giving it back to the planet. Keep inhaling love towards yourself and exhaling sending it to someone who could do with its soul soothing power. Continue this visualisation and finish with 1-2 minutes just feeling the effect of your meditation.
Rebecca Keenaghan is a yoga teacher who works with AdventureYogi on our retreats in the UK and abroad. When she isn’t teaching her pearls of wisdom she is teaching at her own classes in North London. Meet Rebecca on one of our retreats.