Editor’s Note: If you’re new to yoga, all of the talk about chakras may be a bit confusing. What exactly are chakras, and what do they do? Akaljas Kaur shares information, kriyas, asana, and other tips for each chakra in this new series.
“Reconciling the conscious and subconscious emotions in the specific arena of each chakra will create a flow of energy and personality in which the human is consistent and not defeated, and has conscious goals.” ~Yogi Bhajan
When considering the chakras, sometimes we get caught up with where they are located in the body and if they are balanced, unbalanced, open, or closed. In reality, the chakras are not limited to exist in any one specific location of the body. The chakras are energy centers where interplay between the physical and subtle realms take place. Kundalini Yoga teaches us how they represent various parts of the physical body, our emotions, our perceptions and how we project ourselves out to the world. As vortexes of energy, the chakras from which we are operating or projecting will always change just as energy itself is always changing vibratory frequencies. Understanding the chakra system is a great tool through which we can gain deeper insight into ourselves and make sense of life. Through Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan has shared many techniques for us to work with this system and move toward higher states of consciousness.
The first chakra is called Muladhara which means root or foundation. In this particular chakra we can begin to transcend the basis of physical nature. Connecting to the earth element here, this energetic center is responsible for everything that manifests in the physical world. It is involved with material and primal survival, our health, bodies and habits. In Kundalini Yoga, the specific body parts that are related to the first chakra are the bones, feet, legs, rectum, perineum, large intestine, base of the spine, adrenal glands and immune system. The theme here is elimination, steadiness, health and stability. Through the practice of Kundalini Yoga we can build a strong connection with this energetic center and use it to help us live fully in our bodies and on this earth.
Kundalini Yoga shows us how simply the emotions relate to all chakras. These emotions vary, showing shadow and light qualities depending on how connected we are to the particular chakra. When we disconnect from this energy center we might be greedy and insecure or suffer from depression. We may distrust the world and have very rigid perspectives. The reason for these shadow emotions boil down to the feeling of fear. Fearing separation, hunger, poverty, anything really are symptoms of a disconnect from the earth energy within. Operating from a place of fear is a strong sign that we have lost our relationship with the first chakra. Luckily, with a strong Kundalini Yoga practice, we can strengthen our connection to the chakras. When our relationship with the first chakra is strong, we are calm, patient, generous, loyal and we value ourselves. We feel supported and are able to support others. The first chakra gives us the foundation from which we allow our self-awareness to take root and grow.
There are many Kundalini Yoga kriyas, meditations, mantras and asana (poses) to assist us in strengthening our relationship with the first chakra so we can project those light qualities and find physical and emotional balance in this arena.
Kriya for Relaxation and Releasing Fear from Kundalini Yoga for Youth and Joy will get right down to the heart of the matter and assist in letting go of the subconscious fear we hold.
Elimination (Apana) Exercises from Sadhana Guidelines gets deep into the intestines to help with any physical issues arising from this chakra.
Meditation for the First Chakra from Physical Wisdom is an excellent meditation to connect you to the power and flow of energy associated with the first chakra. It also utilizes a wonderful Kundalini Yoga mantra “Humee Hum, Brahm Hum” which translates into “we are we, we are God”. Chanting this mantra fixes our identity to its true reality; that we are the spirit of God. Once we know this, we can trust in life, others and ourselves.
A great resource to chant along with is Hummee Hum Brahm Hum by Gurucharan S. Khalsa & Gurusangat Singh. This CD offers a variety of versions so you can find the one you like best. If you’d prefer a simple rendition, try Mantras of the Master by Santokh Singh.
There are Kundalini Yoga postures that focus specifically on the first chakra energy. If you need a first chakra boost and you only have a few minutes, try one of these:
Crow Pose: Begin standing and bring the feet a little wider than hip width’s distance apart, turn the toes outward. Slowly lower down into a squat, hips coming all the way down by the ankles if possible. Interlace the fingers, except for the index finger and straighten the arms so the fingers point straight ahead. Focus out beyond the horizon and begin long slow deep breathing. Let the inhales move down to the base of the spine filling this area with vitality as the exhales release any tension or blockages you may feel.
Chair Pose: Begin standing and bring feet shoulder’s width distance apart. Squat down until the thighs are parallel to the earth. Bring the hands through the inside of the legs, wrapping them around the back of the ankles and placing the palms on the tops of the feet. Keep the back straight and chin slightly tucked. Begin long deep breathing.
Fun lifestyle tips for enhancing root chakra energy: Eat more root vegetables like beets and carrots. Include ginger in your cooking or juices. Wear red clothing or red gemstones. Walk barefoot on the earth (not concrete).