The First Chakra — the Root Chakra


The root Chakra is the seat of pas­sion and is the home of “basic needs” — food, shel­ter, nour­ish­ment, and the right to exist—like the base lev­el of Maslow’s hier­ar­chy of needs.

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The fol­low­ing ideas were intro­duced in Car­olyn Myss’ book, Anato­my of the Spir­it. We’ve com­bined her work with our own the­o­ries, to present the fol­low­ing explanations.

first chakra

The root Chakra is the seat of passion and is the home of “basic needs” — food, shelter, nourishment, and the right to exist—like the base level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

This area is the base area for the release of vital ener­gy.
The colour asso­ci­at­ed with this Chakra is deep, bright red.

The Root Chakra also gov­erns the legs, and there­by our sense of “ground­ed­ness.”


root first chakra

The root Chakra is located at the tip of the tailbone, at the perineum.


good enough spot

Instead, you may want to use what we call the “Good Enough Point.” 

To find this spot, fol­low the spine down from the waist, and you’ll find that the spine has a “bump” at the point it begins to curl under.


A Primer on the Root Chakra

Maslow

One might say that lev­els 1 & 2, on the “Maslow Chart” to the left, rep­re­sent the “issues” con­tained in the root Chakra. The loca­tion of the root Chakra, at the tip of the tail­bone, is con­nect­ed with

  • ground­ed­ness,
  • secu­ri­ty,
  • hold­ing,
  • elim­i­na­tion of “the crap we hold on to,”
  • and what we might call the sense of “the right to be.”

Now, apart from the Body­work impli­ca­tions, why am I rais­ing this? Well, the Chakra hier­ar­chy is inescapable. As is Maslow’s hier­ar­chy of needs. In oth­er words, as we progress along the pyra­mid, reach­ing each lev­el in turn, we might be thought of as adding to our reper­toire. Each lev­el builds upon the lev­el that pre­cedes it.

Ener­get­i­cal­ly, we can also under­stand that we pro­ceed, as we grow, from basic human needs of food, shel­ter, oxy­gen, elim­i­na­tion, and safe­ty (Chakra 1) to rela­tion­ship needs being met (i.e. the infant must “latch on” to the par­ent or par­ents in order to meet phys­i­o­log­i­cal and safe­ty needs,) which is Chakra 2. Chakra 3, self-esteem, while incip­i­ent in the low­er 2, does not actu­al­ly occur (i.e. the devel­op­ment of a “self”) until sev­er­al months to a year into the child’s life (this is the first lev­el of differentiation.)

When we come under stress, or bet­ter, when we choose to stress our­selves, we end up work­ing down the same sys­tem. So, if a client has a set­back, the first thing he’ll like­ly do is to begin to doubt him­self. (Chakra 3) Con­tained with­in this doubt is a fun­da­men­tal loss of self-esteem. This, of course, assumes that he does­n’t “hie him­self off” to a ther­a­pist. He makes him­self feel worth­less (worth less—get it?) and ques­tions his intel­li­gence, per­sis­tence and abilities.

If he does­n’t catch him­self there, he’ll then begin to ques­tion his rela­tion­ships. (Chakra 2) He’ll doubt his com­pe­tence, his abil­i­ty to com­mu­ni­cate and will begin to imag­ine that oth­ers are reject­ing him out of hand. From there, he’ll begin to pull in and draw back from con­tact, and his choice to retreat will be tak­en as oth­ers reject­ing him. Hav­ing lost him­self, he then pro­ceeds to lose his con­nec­tion with others.

If he does­n’t catch him­self here, there is only one Chakra left. This is the “basic right to live” Chakra. Peo­ple reach­ing this Chakra on the way down are prone to hurt­ing them­selves, and to suicide.

As a ther­a­pist, then, one goal I might have is to work dili­gent­ly to arrest a down­ward spi­ral. Rebuild­ing from the “I’m too stu­pid to live” place is dif­fi­cult. As a Body­work­er, address­ing the “root” issues at the 1st Chakra is a vital exer­cise. We con­sid­er this work to be of such an essen­tial area that we’re work­ing on a book­let and video on this topic.

Here’s anoth­er per­spec­tive, and indi­cates why so many peo­ple are “defend­ed” in the low­er Chakra. When you think about it from the above per­spec­tive, the tight­en­ing is in a sense pro­vid­ing a mus­cu­lar wall to pro­tect the root Chakra, as, remem­ber, it’s all about secu­ri­ty and the right to live. We’re pro­grammed to pro­tect this last ves­tige of our human­i­ty in the only way we know how to — by erect­ing a wall and resist­ing that wall being breached.

Per­haps the way out of all of this, beyond Body­work per se, is to dis­cuss, with some fear and trem­bling, your fear of death and anni­hi­la­tion. Find anoth­er to share this with. We are all fear­ful, almost unto death, of death. (Para­dox of para­dox­es!) The prac­tice of let­ting go of the cling­ing to fear is the psy­cho­log­i­cal equiv­a­lent of let­ting go of mus­cu­lar tight­ness. To put this anoth­er way — you either deeply know and believe that you have a right to exist, or you don’t. Tight­en­ing up and scream­ing about it or avoid­ing the area alto­geth­er demon­strates a hold­ing that is not vol­un­tary and non-attached.


There are a couple of exercises that are really good for this Chakra.

Most of the links lead to Yoga Jour­nal,
where you’ll find descrip­tions and direc­tions for the poses.

supta

Sup­ta Bad­dha Konasana (Reclin­ing Bound Ankle Pose)


virasana
virasana side

Virasana (Hero Pose)


horse stance for first chakra

Horse Stance


Use the Chart, above, to view other Chakras,
or click below to move to the next Chakra


An Arti­cle on the Psy­chol­o­gy of the 1st Chakra


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