The root chakra, or Muladhara, located around the tip of your tailbone corresponds with a sense of safety and stability in your life. This can come from having enough food to eat, adequate shelter, or money to buy what you need. It also can come from emotional needs like a feeling of belonging or recognition and appreciation by others. Muladhara is an earthy energy. Think about it as an actual root, growing from the earth to feed and support you through your tailbone.
Read on to learn about the importance of maintaining a balanced root chakra as well as five yoga poses to help you do so.
About the Root Chakra
An underactive or deficient root chakra can produce a variety of negative experiences and symptoms, such as:
- Feelings of Abandonment
- Disconnection From Others
- Fear, Anxiety, and Depression
However, an overactive root chakra also can produce harmful symptoms like:
- Anger, Aggressiveness, and a Short Temper
- Impatience and Annoyance
- Feelings of Being Stuck
- A Controlling Nature
Healing and nourishing the root chakra can help ground you and create a sense of stability. This highly important energy provides the foundation from which the subtle energetic qualities of all the other chakras will develop. It’s your mooring post. Without a balanced root chakra, your second chakra energy could grow too watery and loose — rendering you unable to receive healthy love or maintain boundaries for yourself. An unbalanced root chakra also can impact your third chakra energy — the energy of self care, decision-making, motivation, and power — causing you to take an overly aggressive or wishy-washy approach when making decisions.
To help maintain balance in your root chakra, consider adding these five suggested poses to your regular yoga practice.
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
- Stand at the top of your yoga mat with your feet together while your knees and thighs rotate inward toward each other.
- Align your heart over your hips and your head over your heart.
- Relax your shoulders down and back away from your ears.
- Keep your arms by your sides with your palms turned forward.
- Tuck your chin so it aligns with the horizon while the crown of your head aligns with the sky.
- Now, relax your face and your body. Feel the entire surface of the soles of your feet equally in contact with the earth.
- Breath slow, easy breaths to cultivate a sense of feeling rooted in place like a natural and timeless part of the land that supports you.
2. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
This pose is powerful because of the opposing energies involved in rooting your feet and hips toward the earth while your arms reach up to the sky.
- Start in mountain pose, and then inhale and sit back into an imaginary chair. As you sit back, squeeze your knees together and raise your arms overhead.
- Pull your belly button in and up, creating strength in your abdominal area.
- In your mind’s eye, envision your tailbone reaching toward the earth — maybe even with an invisible chord of energy rooting into the earth from your tailbone. (You may feel a gentle shift in your hips as your tailbone tucks downward.)
- Relax your shoulders and hold for five or more full, deep breaths.
- While you hold this pose, tap into that feeling of being rooted to the earth and connected to yourself.
- Let the strengthening power provide the energy you need to approach life with trust and confidence that you exist, you belong, and everything you need is available to you.
3. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
- Start in mountain pose, and then step your feet apart equal to a width of two fists.
- Move your hands to your hips on your next inhale, and then fold forward halfway as you exhale.
- Inhale to lengthen your spine and exhale to complete the forward fold and reach down to touch your toes. (If you have tight hamstrings, bend your knees and/or rest your hands on a block at your feet as a modification of this pose.)
- Now, relax the crown of your head toward the floor, relax your shoulders, and focus on feeling the inward-spiraling motion of your legs.
- Hold this forward fold for as long as you feel comfortable, starting with at least five breaths.
- While you hold this pose, bring your focus to the tip of your tailbone and breathe directly into that space.
- Imagine a soft, red glow developing there, and then use this color as a point of focus as you allow yourself to soak in a sense of grounded security and belonging.
4. Yogi Squat (Malasana)
- Stand at the top of your yoga mat and open your feet nearly as wide as the short end of the mat.
- Turn your toes out slightly.
- Come into a deep squat, keeping your heels flat on the mat. (If you can’t keep your heels down, tuck a rolled-up towel or blanket under them to fully support your soles.)
- Bring your hands together in front of your heart and press your elbows into your inner thighs.
- Now, allow your body to sink into this pose as you open through your hips and relax your tailbone toward the floor.
- Hold this pose for at least five breaths.
- Use each deep, full breath to encourage more relaxation in this pose.
- With your eyes closed, continue to use the image of inhaling deeply into your spine to send breath and expansion into a red circle of light at your tailbone.
5. Lotus (Padmasana)
Because this advanced pose may not be accessible to everyone, you can practice easy pose (Sukhasana) or half lotus (Ardha Padmasana) as modifications.
- Sit with your legs extended, and then bend your right knee and cradle it in the crook of your right elbow.
- Press your right foot into the inside of your left elbow, possibly clasping your hands together around the outer edge of your right calf.
- Breathe here for a few moments, rocking the right leg to explore the range of motion in your hip.
- Now, place your right ankle on your left thigh with the heel as close to your belly as possible.
- Next, bring your left leg in, bending your left knee and cradling your left calf in your arms as you stretch and breath into your left hip.
- Bring your left heel in toward your right hip, placing it close to your belly while allowing your knees to move toward your centerline and each other. (Note: You’ll still maintain a cross-legged position in which your knees remain relatively wide apart, so think of this as more of an energetic movement with your knees reaching toward one another.)
- Settle into this pose by rooting down through your tailbone and maintaining a straight spine.
- Cultivate an inner sense of groundedness and connection to the earth as you hold this pose for five full breaths.