In Hindu Tantra, chakras are energetic focal points. The word “chakra” means “wheel,” and these focal points are visualized as rotating, circular gateways.
Each of them correspond to different concepts and body systems, and are associated with different colors, symbols, mantras, and lotuses with varying numbers of petals. The first one is Muladhara, the root chakra.
About the Root Chakra
The name Muladhara roughly translates to “root of existence.” It’s located on the pelvic floor, roughly corresponding to the perineum, and represented by the color red and a lotus with four petals. Its associated mantra is “Lam.”
This chakra serves as the entrance to the rest of the energy system. It’s associated with survival and basic needs. (If you’re familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it would be the base.)
If this energy center is blocked or unbalanced, then life force energy can’t flow upward to any of the other chakras. Just like anything else in life, if the basic requirements for survival aren’t met, nothing else can be, either.
Blocked Root Chakra Signs & Symptoms
Muladhara can be blocked by fear. In a somewhat ironic twist, fear is also one of the primary symptoms of a blockage. It’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophesy — if you feel that you are in danger, your energy body will respond in kind.
Fear and anxiety aren’t the only symptoms of a blocked root chakra. You may also experience some of the following symptoms.
Some signs and symptoms of a blocked root chakra include:
- Symptoms of panic.
- Intense feelings of self-doubt, particularly relating to taking care of yourself.
- Low self-confidence.
- Difficulty trusting others.
- Feelings or fear of abandonment.
- A strong need for external validation and feedback.
- Unhealthy attitudes toward food, like hoarding, binging, or restriction.
Since each chakra also corresponds to areas of the physical body, a blockage may manifest as physical symptoms.
Physically, you may feel:
- Issues with the lower intestines.
- Cold extremities.
- Aches in the feet and ankles.
- Heart palpitations and other anxiety symptoms.
- Erectile dysfunction.
Root Chakra Opening Signs & Symptoms
Since the root chakra can become blocked, that means it can also be unblocked. If you’ve been living with a blockage in Muladhara, you might even be accustomed to feelings of doubt, anxiety, and constant state of stress.
Unblocking this chakra, while healthier for you, can be a dramatic shift from what you’re used to, and produce a variety of symptoms.
Some signs and symptoms of an opening root chakra include:
- A sudden and dramatic decrease in anxiety.
- Feeling more connected to others.
- Healthy changes to your relationship with food.
- Changes in sleeping habits.
Physically, you may feel:
- An ability to experience arousal more easily.
- Better posture.
- Warmth in your extremities.
- A reduction in your resting heart rate. (Especially if your anxiety manifests as palpitations and a rapid heartbeat.)
Methods to Heal, Balance & Open the Root Chakra
There are a variety of ways to heal, balance, and open the chakras. Everyone’s situation and energy body is subtly different, so some methods will work better for some people than others.
You can also combine whichever methods resonate with you most, in order to enhance their effectiveness. Consider trying:
Meditation and Visualization
Sit in a comfortable position, either in a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed. Close your eyes, and breathe deeply into your belly for a count of four. Exhale, and repeat for three breaths.
When you are ready, picture a glowing red disc at the base of your pelvic floor. This is your root chakra. Continue picturing it spinning in an even rhythm, neither too fast nor too slow.
If it seems dull, pale, or otherwise “off” to you, visualize your body drawing healthy, glowing red energy into this area. Continue meditating on your root chakra, drawing energy up into this space, until you feel ready to stop.
Sound is vibration, and vibration is an expression of energy. Sound healing relies on frequencies that are said to resonate with specific energy centers or states of being.
For the root chakra, the best frequency is 396 Hz. Listen to music tuned to this frequency, or use a singing bowl designed to vibrate at it. Many songs intended to heal the root chakra are wonderful for meditation, so feel free to play one while engaging in the visualization exercise above.
Crystals and Stones
Crystals and stones have a subtle healing energy all their own, and are ideal for helping this energy center. Most root chakra stones are black, brown, or red in color — the ones typically used for grounding and vitality.
Stones and crystals work best when they’re in close proximity to the chakra for which they’re used. This can be a bit tricky with the root chakra, especially when it comes to jewelry.
Consider placing them just above the public bone during meditation, or carrying them in the pockets of your pants. The closer they can be to Muladhara, the more directly their energy can work.
See also: Check out the Best Crystals & Stones for the Root Chakra here.
Herbs and Foods
Herbs and foods are wonderful medicine. You only have to look at the phrase “comfort food” to recognize that they act on us emotionally as well as physically. Some medicinal herbs and natural foods are associated with specific chakras, and the root chakra is no exception.
Herbs with taproots that reach deep into the earth, like dandelion and burdock, resonate beautifully with Muladhara. They can help reinforce our grounding energetic connection to the element of Earth, and enhance our feelings of stability and security.
Root vegetables like yams, potatoes, and horseradish act in a similar fashion. Foods rich in protein, like eggs, nuts, and beans, are also considered healing and strengthening to the root chakra.
Aromatherapy, like herbs and foods, acts on our physical, energetic, and emotional bodies. Specific essential oils, like patchouli, provide grounding and emotional balancing. They can help reduce anxiety and clear the mind, allowing us to focus our thoughts away from our fears.
Most essential oils are suitable for wearing in special aromatherapy jewelry, so you can carry them with you throughout your day. (Some absolutes, in particular, are a little too viscous for this and need to be heated and diluted before use.)
Diffusers are another helpful way to benefit from the power of these oils, but many essential oils are too potent to be used safely around children and animals in this manner.
You can also apply a single drop of essential oil to your palms, rub your hands together, then cup them over your nose and inhale. Consider blending aromatherapy, crystals, meditation, and sound healing in one thorough chakra-opening session.
See also: Check out the Best Herbs & Essential Oils for the Root Chakra here.
It might seem simple, but color has a profound impact on our mood and energy level. For the root chakra, the most appropriate is red.
It doesn’t matter how you add more red to your life — you can wear it or decorate with it. The importance is that you allow yourself to take in this color and all that it symbolizes, from energy, to vitality, to passion.
Since so much of this chakra is tied up in survival, strength exercises are a helpful way to stimulate it. You can also try various yoga asanas, like Mandukasana or frog stretch, to open Muladhara.
It’s best if you can exercise outdoors, where you’re able to come in contact with the Earth. This will help you ground your energy and promote stability.
If all else fails, or you simply don’t feel confident tackling this on your own, you can engage the services of an energy worker. They can use a variety of techniques to help you open your root chakra, including aromatherapy, massage, sound healing, and modalities like Reiki.
Your root chakra is your energetic foundation. If it isn’t working well, the rest of your energy body (and physical body) suffers for it.
Keeping this energy center open allows you to shift your focus away from providing for your bare survival, and towards realizing your full potential.