The root chakra governs our basic instincts — food, survival, and safety. The root chakra forms the basis of a subtle energy network called the nadir, the chief nadi being sushumna nadi. If the root chakra is strong, then all the other chakras will have a firm foundation. When our basic instincts are pure, then all the other activities are purified too.
In this article, we will discuss three mudras that can benefit the root chakra.
What are Mudras?
Mudras are hand gestures that activate a certain element or energy in the body. The five fingers represent the five elements. The energy activation point lies on the fingertips. When the fingertips are connected, the subtle energy in your body gets activated. The thumb represents the fire element. This element represents agni within the body, and it serves to activate all the other elements.
The index finger represents air, middle finger ether, ring finger earth and the little finger represents the water element.
When different hand formations, or mudras, are formed, the combination of subtle elements has a powerful effect on the mind and body.
An Overview of the Root Chakra
Each of the seven chakras has defining features that make it unique. Below is the profile of the root chakra, known in Sanskrit as मूलाधार (muladhara), or the “foundation.”
Physical location: The base of the spine. By bringing your awareness to the coccygeal plexus, or the bundle of nerves around the tailbone, you can feel the energy of your root chakra.
Developmental stage: Conception to one year. In the womb and during the first year of infancy, human beings establish their initial relationships with their environment and the people in it. It is a time of orientation. This serves as the foundation for future emotional development. All of these areas are largely influenced by the well-being of the root chakra.
Chief domains: Security, trust, and personal boundaries. The muladhara chakra shapes our feelings about our body and our physical environment. It governs our most basic needs: food, survival, and safety.
Emotional challenge: Fear. An insecure or unstable home environment can lead to a poor self-image, poor practices of self-care, or various phobias. If you learn how to establish a healthy relationship with fear, you can strengthen your root chakra.
Element: Earth. The root chakra is the foundation for the entire nervous system. It regulates our physicality and sense of groundedness within the body.
Color: Red. The energy of the muladhara chakra is the color of red earth, like the clay used to build adobe homes. It gives support, stability, and safety.
Symbol: A lotus with four petals. The root chakra is the base and support for the entire chakra system. It is where your psychic energy is grounded. As a table stands on four legs, the four petals of the root chakra are like powerful feet grounding and balancing your head and heart and keeping them connected.
When your root chakra is vibrant, you recognize the innate value and privilege of having a human body.
The Physiology of the Root Chakra
You can imagine the earth as your body, the bodies of water on the earth as the water in your body, the sun as the fire of your digestion (your body temperature), the wind of the earth as the breath in your lungs, and the space in the atmosphere (ether) as the mental space within you. In this way you are a mini-universe with all the chakras representing the different planetary levels as per the Tantric texts.
The root chakra balances the earth element. The earth element includes all the other elements. The physical structure of the earth represents all the other elements. Similarly a strong root chakras which balances our physical structure supports all the other chakras. Since the root chakra also controls the excretory organs, the chakra keeps the physical body clean so that all the higher activities of healing and meditation can take place.
Having pure foods is the a very important step in purifying the root chakra, and this will have an uplifting effect on our entire existence. In order for our chakras to operate at optimal levels, a healthy diet is very much needed.
If we believe we are all alone in the world, we may feel very unsafe and insecure. However the ancient Tantric texts that describe the chakra system also mention that there is a higher power, a Supreme Person who protects us. When we take the shelter of that energy or person, then no matter where you are in the universe, you will always feel protected. The same wonderful Person who controls the stars, the sun and the moon also protects you.
Therefore by grounding ourselves, having pure foods, and recognizing our higher power, we will have a strong and healthy root chakra.
RECOMMENDED: For a complete guide to the many mudras and their benefits, check out Healing Mudras: Yoga of the Hands by Yogi Nataraj.
Mudras for the Root Chakra
As we have already discussed, each chakra deals with an element and an endocrine gland influencing the body. To purify the chakras, we must practice the mudras relating to the specifi element as well as the proper endocrine gland or system.
The root chakra deals with the earth element and the excretory system. The first mudra we will cover is the Prithvi mudra:
The Prithvi Mudra
Touch the tips of the thumb and the ring finger. Gradually adjust the pressure until you can feel your pulse in your fingertips. While holding this mudra, focus your attention on your root chakra. Practice this mudra for about 15-20 minutes.
When Should I Perform the Prithvi Mudra?
The Prithvi mudra is useful for treating the following symptoms:
- Building muscle and bone strength
- Gaining weight
- Reducing hair loss
- Building self-confidence
- Improving digestion
- Enhancing immunity
- Balancing the thyroid
- Calming the mind
Remember that it is very important to feel your pulse while performing this mudra.
The next mudra we will cover is known as the Yoni mudra. This is the most appropriate mudra to heal the excretory system:
The Yoni Mudra
First make both hands into fists and bring them together, with your thumbs facing away from your chest. Next straighten the index fingers until they both touch, and extend the thumbs until they also touch, as shown in the picture below. Once you feel your pulse, the root chakra is activated. Practice this mudra for 10-15 minutes.
The last mudra we will cover is called the Suchi Mudra. This mudra specifically cleanses your intestines and digestive tract:
The Suchi Mudra
Make both hands into fists and wrap your thumbs over the outside of your knuckles. Next straighten your index fingers so it is pointing straight out, as shown below. Hold this mudra for 15-20 minutes.
Bija Mantra for the Root Chakra
When we perform the mudras we can also chant the bija mantras that activate the chakra. Bija means seed, this seed carries the energy of activation of the chakra. The Bjia mantra for the sacral chakra is lam pronounced “lang,” similar to how the syllable om is chanted.
When we chant the bija mantra along when we perform the mudra we get an even better effect of both the mudra and the mantra. Once we are situated in the mudra the soft chanting of the bija or the seed mantra along with concentration on the chakra is very beneficial.
Suggested Mudra Sequence for the Root Chakra
- Sit in a quiet place if possible, sit with your back straight or against the wall. You can even sit on a chair.
- Perform the Prithvi Mudra. Meditate on the Bija mantra by reciting it softly or in the mind as you practice the mudra. Practice this mudra for 15 minutes.
- Perform the Yoni Mudra. Meditate on the Bija mantra by reciting it softly or in the mind as you practice the mudra. Practice this mudra for 15 minutes.
- Perform the Suchi Mudra. Meditate on the Bija mantra by reciting it softly or in the mind as you practice the mudra. Practice this mudra for 15 minutes.
You can practice the sequence based on your time available. If you have 15 minutes perform the first mudra. If you have more time you do the second one and so on.
This sequence will benefit you immensely in healing the root chakra and becoming grounded in your body.