Updated: Sep 8
Get your Mooladhara working
– the first main energetic wheel responsible for the orgasmic rising of consciousness leading you to be a more enlightened being!
Prana gives us vitality!
According to yogic philosophy ‘vital energy’ or also called life force (prana) gets absorbed through the chakras (energy centres) and marmas (energy points) into our body. It is said that each of those chakras connects and affects our nervous and endocrine system and therefore are responsible for our emotional well-being (feeling fearful, courageous, balanced, unbalanced, joyful or angry/sad etc.) and the development of our personality.
According to Ayurveda, there are various marma points (107/108), but you probably are more familiar with the term “Acupressure point” or “Acupuncture points” (Chinese medicine). In martial arts, marma points (dim maks – a touch of death) translate to ‘a point that can kill’ or once fully activated you become “invincible”.
Those energy centres/points get charged, they can lack/are deficient or have an excess of energy. The aim of yoga is to balance the flow of energy and information. You can compare this to a powerhouse, you don’t want too many dim lights or a blackout, but neither do you want to cause an explosion, but a constant flow of the appropriate level of energy & lighting.
A major chakra can be found at an intersecting point of two major nadis (ida and Pingala: energy channels along the spine where the Sushumna, another major Nadi, flows). Some minor chakras are to be found between intersecting points of blood vessels and nerves. The system of chakras and nadis relate to the acupuncture meridians system (Motoyama’s research 1993).
In my modest attempt to elucidate you about the 7 ‘main’ chakras, I start with the first main one, that is, Mooladhara Chakra (root chakra). There are said to be 114 chakras in our body plus 75,000 energy channels (nadis) and about 107/108 marmas, but most textbooks only speak about the main 7 chakras, Mooladhara being the first main one.
Kundalini Yoga is typically associated with the rising of consciousness through the 7 main chakras. Laya Yoga uses chakra visualisations and mentally chants certain sounds associated with each chakra in conjunction with some form of Pranayama (breath lengthening/control/extension). For example, the basic vibrational sound for Mooladhara is lam (so for example, in my chakra workshop you will chant lam in a certain chosen pose).
Symbology and meaning – the lotus flower
Charkas are traditionally depicted by lotus flowers. The lotus flower was chosen long ago to symbolize the chakras because a lotus flower rises through the mud to light, symbolically it is our life rising through difficult situations/pain / karmic mental imprints gaining experience and maturity to a more enlightened and content being. The more lotus petals a chakra contains, the higher the vibration of that particular chakra.
The colour of the Muladhara lotus symbol is red. The longest wavelength of light is red. The best place to see the natural red colour is at sunrise and sunset when red (orange) colours are present. One of the first colours a baby can perceive the world around themselves is red (Anna Franklin, head of the baby lab at the University of Sussex, “It is a myth that babies see in black and white,” she says, pointing out that studies have found that newborns can see large, intense patches of red on a grey background” (The Guardian). The colour red symbolises blood, birth, anger, passion, life and death and that is what Muladhara exactly relates to. It is the root place of our instinctive passions, karmic imprints and impulses.
Whatever we feel (accomplishments) and do (actions) is governed from this first chakra. Our instinct acts according to a principle of how we learnt to satisfy it or to suppress it (gratification) and it stays with us our entire life and determines the selection of many things often without being aware why we have an aversion (Dvesa) or liking (Raga) to it. There are instincts which help our survival needs (respiration, eating and sex), but we also must deal with destructive forces (hate, guilt, fear) and often how we learnt to handle those powerful emotions in the first years of our existence determines how we keep acting out in our lives.
Often the suppression of conflict situations can lead to physical symptoms and I will outline below some possible symptoms of a chronic unbalanced Mooladhara Charka. Our unconscious mind is in a way a repository of primitive wishes, impulses and events that were too painful to acknowledge. Kundalini rising goes to the bottom of those karmic samskaras (mental impression, recollection, psychological imprint) and the awakening takes place rising above those impulses, feelings and painful events and they no longer govern your life. For that we have to learn how to do what is good for our life (Shreya) rather than simply what is pleasant (Preya). Only when we learn to purify this chakra will our brain cease to be governed by this darker tendencies or qualities so deeply ingrained in us.
We fall victim to “I know what I should do, should not, but yet I cannot put it into practice. I am forced to do it even thus I know it is wrong (e.g. eating too much cake or smoking). We shout out “I can’t help it!”, but we can help it and I will intend to explain how below.
“Muladhara is at the root of the chakras system and its influence are at the root of our whole existence. In Samkhya philosophy, the concept of mooladhara is understood as moola prakriti, the transcendental basis of physical nature. The whole universe and all its objects must have some basis from which they evolve and to which they return after dissolution. “(Swami Satyananda Saraswati – Kundalini Tantra).
The lotus flower has four petals, on which in gold a letter is written. The first letter vam is the beeja mantra for the second chakra (sign up to receive my newsletter to learn about Svadishtana). Those two chakras are intrinsically related and self-preservation and notions of sexuality are different in male and female bodies (e.g. location of the gonads in males (testes) is closer to mooladhara, whereas in women (ovaries) to second main chakra: svadisdhana).
The yellow square symbolises earth and the spears at each corner and pointing in each cardinal direction the 7 holy Kula mountains sitting on the spear that symbolises earth itself. The elephant resembles the foundation, strength and solid nature of element earth. The elephant has seven trunks, which stand as a symbol for the seven minerals that are vital to physical functioning. This elephant symbolically is the vehicle of a great mind and creativity. On top of the inverted triangle (representing Shakti, creative energy), lies the smokey (dhum) grey dhumra lingam (a symbol of divine energy and in this case a symbol of the physical world) and around this lingam (astral body) the three and a half-coiled kundalini snake lies here representing the three gunas of qualities of nature in an individual.
It is said as long as those three gunas (the three gunas or tendencies/qualities of the play of nature are: tamas, i.e. darkness, lethargy, rajas, i.e. activity and sattva, i.e. beingness) operate, the individual operates within the confinements of ego (that is, continues to act out from the surface of learnt experiences without having gone to the profound deepness of their unconscious mind). The half represents transcendence. On top of the inverted triangle, the beeja mantra Lam is written Bija Mantras” are used as tools for the expansion and widening of one's mind by utilizing the power of sound vibrations. “Mantra” is a Sanskrit word made up of two syllables: “man” (mind) and “tra” (liberate). In its most literal translation, the word “Mantra” means “to liberate one's mind”.
We find inside the bindu (point) over the mantra Lam the elephant deva (divine) Ganesha and devi Dakini (four arms, red eyes – said to be the carrier of ever pure intelligence).
The sense perception for Mooladhara chakra is the smell and the organ the nose, the organ of activity the anus.
To summarize the potential of kundalini rising at Mooladhara represents an awakened state of mind where our spiritual growth starts and we escape the instinctive level of self-preservation and existence at the most basic level. (see Kundalini Tantra by Swami Styananda Saraswati).
It is crucial to balance this chakra to feel groundedness, trust and right belonging.
Muladhara translates as “root” or “foundation” (see above) and chakra as “wheel” (see above), so it is the root energy centre that governs our basic needs and lies at our foundations of existence.
Elements, such as having a roof over our heads, feeling warm and having enough food to eat certainly contribute to the balanced root chakra. Centred at the perineum and the base of the spine, this chakra tends to our survival needs and from here as mentioned above the possibility of higher realization arises.
Each of those energy centres corresponds to a nerve plexus (Mooladhara corresponds to the sacrococcygeal plexus (therefore sometimes when this chakra is opened a slight feeling of itching occurs, inferior hypogastric plexus, coeliac plexus) and an endocrine gland (the gonads, that is, testes or ovaries – see above). The first chakra together with the second governs our urinary, excretory, sexual and reproductive system (nourishment, absorption, elimination, control of sexual energy).
The kidney, urinary bladder, small intestine, liver and triple heater are the related acupuncture meridians (there are postures which affect those meridians). In both females and males, there is a vestigial gland (a knot) right at where this chakra is located (male between the scrotum and the anus, females in the posterior side of the cervix). This is called the knot of Brahman (Brahman granthi). As long this knot exists, energy there is blocked. As soon as this knot is opened ‘shakti’ awakens (this occurs when the person awakens to a greater force of divine consciousness and no longer falls victim to the lower instinctive ways of action or sexual desires.
Feeling grounded and secure is the basis therefore to discover higher spiritual realms.
Big changes, such as moving to a new unknown location, feeling uprooted through death (abandonment, betrayal by friends/family or / lessons learnt in trusting people and financial difficulty make it harder for us to relax and meditate and can lead to a deficiency or lack of energy in this chakra. Often when this chakra is unbalanced we also may feel that our physical surrounding is boring.
Sometimes it does not even have to be as dramatic as losing a person or a roof over your head, but your own imagination can uproot you by thinking too much or by being too much in the head.
Everything must have a basis for evolution to occur and eventually, everything returns to this basic point (moola Prakriti – see above).
If this chakra is in disequilibrium or is deficient, you feel uprooted, fearful and some experience this as a “survival crisis” or some other “midlife crisis” or/and lessons of betrayal/trust could not be assimilated. All passions, guilt and agonies are stored here, so a chronic suppression of those impulses and therefore a chronic unbalanced Mooldadhara in its extreme form can lead to mental diseases, such as schizophrenia and others, sometimes more severe disorders.
Certainly, our childhood and the relationship we used to have with our parents and subsequently with work (career) is of importance here too. It is this root security or baseline we need constantly to tackle life. Unconsciously we may eat more to feel more grounded or hoard our money or even more extremely express this in greediness towards others.
Whatever the symptoms, as mentioned before trying to balance this first chakra is very important. It is said that when the three nadis (ida, pingala, sushuma) are in balance an awakening of kundalini is possible and once this balance becomes steady and all chakras are sufficiently opened and purified, this awakening leads to an explosive awakening of consciousness.
The body parts related to Mooladhara are the base of the spine, the legs, feet and the large intestine.
So how to balance?
We can balance this chakra by going back to nature, be in touch with our planet earth, go for a long walk through a forest or/and gardening. Encouraging a feeling of stillness, ground yourself through yoga and encourage an environment in which you are allowed to feel safe. Join a support group or get therapy to lose the fear of losing your security. In our western world, many people grew up with this fear after the second world war, when everything was scarce and there was nothing to eat. In German, there is a word “Existenzsorgen”, which translates roughly into “worries about losing, facing hardship, existential troubles, no certainty what tomorrow brings and often in capitalist society this is coupled with not spending and holding onto money”.
I remember once in India meeting a guy on top of the roof terrace at night and as we were philosophizing about life I remember this one sentence by him “once you realize that nothing is secure, you are secure “. This forever sticks with me, but those fears by our parents, grandparents, friends, sisters and brothers, we experienced as small children are stuck in our unconsciousness and are not easy to eradicate. This realization takes time and constantly reminding ourselves.
On a more physical level stretching our feet and strengthening our legs, spreading toes and stretching hamstrings and calves can help. Unconsciously this fear can relate to wanting to run away making our hamstrings tight by being in this constant tension. Being in a safe warm environment surrender to gravity with some restorative poses afterwards.
Repeat the Mantra “I am” or “I am grounded”. We can learn how to move one vertebra at a time from the base of the spine upwards and using our breath to encourage the opening up of this first important chakra. The careful use of bandhas (subtle muscular locks) can help to stimulate chakras at certain points and help to circulate energy throughout our body. By rooting our sitting bones firmly down and feeling this connection with the earth. Learn how to take it slow, stop before you act, be aware that your actions are coming to a lot of times from this deep unconscious seat of samskaras, ask yourself how to solve the situation rather than reacting to it. Imagine a traffic light and let it be on red, prepare yourself and then go. Rather than just shouting out “I can’t help it” – ask yourself what is good for you (rather than just pleasant). This requires constant purification and what Swami Sarapriyananda called “a window of opportunity” – that is, to create a gap between Karma expressed at the conscious level through your actions, reactions, thoughts (vrittis), speech etc. and those subconscious level where all our ragas, dvesas, samskaras, prakriti (deep-rooted habits, desires, likes and dislikes for certain foods, environments etc. lie.
In order to avoid turmoil with the awakening of mooldadhara, ajna chakra has to be opened at the same time.
A little mediation to finish:
Sit down in a comfortable environment, make sure you are warm and supported.
Ground your sitting bones as you lengthen your spine upwards. Make your hips and pelvis heavy as your legs and thighs feel light. Ground the outer edges of your feet down into the floor.
If you can sit in siddhasana (men) Siddha yoni asana (women) and press the heel against the perineum, that is, midway between testes and anus (men) or opening of the vagina (women). If you cannot do this posture, adjust with blocks or blankets or press a finger into that part.
Start by focusing on the tip of your nose. Become aware of the natural breath.
Move your awareness to the base of your spine.
Begin to breathe in and out of this point and repeat the word mooladhara and feel the pulsations at this point.
Repeat “I am grounded” three times.
More advanced practitioners can start holding Moolabandha (root lock) and releasing it.
“Together the words moola and bandha refer to the contraction of mooladhara chakra, the seat of kundalini. This contraction is triggered at the ‘root’ of the spine or the trunk of the body, the perineum.” (Mulabandha The Master Key by Swami Buddhananda).
You will be pleased to know that those who meditate on kundalini in mooldahara chakra, a man becomes the lord of speech, a king among men and an adept in all kinds of learning. He becomes ever free from all diseases and he remains cheerful at all times” (Kundalini Tantra, p. 140)
Yesterday was Earth day. We need our earth as much as we need our first earthy chakra to be balanced: