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.
The First Chakra — ROOT Chakra
The root Chakra is the seat of passion and sexuality 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.”
The root Chakra is located at the tip of the tailbone, at the perineum, the area of skin between the anus and the genitals.
Direct contact with this area is quite powerful, and there is an almost instantaneous feeling of fullness at the base of the spine. The same thing happens if you simply visualize this area of your anatomy—you should quickly be able to “feel” an area the size of a golf ball at this location.
You should be “friends,” or very comfortable with your partner if you choose to have your partner work on this Chakra directly.
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.
This is typically located at the top of the division between the buttocks.
That’s the “Good Enough Point.”
A Primer on the Root Chakra
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
- 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 the First Chakra.
Most of the links lead to Yoga Journal,
where you’ll find descriptions and directions for the poses.