In yogic philosophy, we are composed of three bodies; the physical, the subtle, and the causal. The subtle body, also known as the astral body, includes energy, mind, and intellect.
Nadis are channels for energy in the subtle body, much like veins and arteries are channels for blood to move through the physical body. Chakras are “wheels” of energy created where the energy channels intersect. We have seven major chakras (pronounced with the “ch” sound, not the “sh” sound) in our subtle body. Each chakra is associated with a different element, sense, sound, color, gland, and part of the body as well as having a core psychological focus.
This post is an introduction to muladhara, the first chakra. Muladhara means root support. It is located at the base of the spine, and includes the legs, feet, and eliminatory system. The element associated with muladhara is earth, and it is associated with a sense of being grounded or rooted and feeling secure and stable. When our life seems out of control and our basic needs are threatened, we will be out of balance in this energy center. For instance, if we have financial difficulties, are going through career or relationship instability, or lose our connection to our close friends or family. To help balance muladhara, spend time outdoors, literally on the earth, walking, hiking, or gardening. Consider a grounding massage, drumming, or resting under a weighted blanket.
In our yoga practice, we can focus on strong standing postures, such as tadasana (mountain) and utkatasana (chair pose).
When you experience physical issues in the feet, legs, or with digestion, consider that it may be more than just your physical body. It could be your energy body sending you a message that you need to stand up for yourself and find more stability and security in your life.