“To lose our connection with the body is to become spiritually homeless. Without an anchor we float aimlessly, battered by the winds and waves of life.” – Anodea Judith.
When you are having trouble in a relationship or when you have lost your strength to go on, experience low blood pressure, when you feel dizzy, anxious, disconnected and when you feel that you are floating above the ground – it’s very likely that you’re experiencing an imbalance in your base/root chakra.
This chakra connects us to our instincts. The Sanskrit name for the base chakra is Muladhara, which means root support, which is why this chakra is often referred to as the root chakra. Located at the base of the spine, this chakra is the foundation of our entire chakra system and contains patterns passed down from our families – both our bloodline and our soul-line, making this a powerful chakra to connect with our heritage. Without a strong muladhara chakra, our other chakras lack a strong foundation, and so our entire chakra system can be compromised. By strengthening our base, our other chakras can begin to flow with health, vibrance and energy, too.
Sociologist Christine Carter says in her article Ground Yourself to achieve Happiness:
– You might know that your TV needs to be grounded electrically to get a clear picture, but did you know that your body also needs to be grounded for optimal health? There is some amazing research that suggests that not having direct contact with the earth’s surface electrons — in other words, not being grounded electrically — is associated with nervous system imbalances, immune system issues, chronic pain, endocrine disorders, sleep problems, and much more.
She also mentions studies made that shows a fairly dramatic improvement in health and pain levels –including things that profoundly affect our happiness. For example the way our nervous system is positively affected by lowering of stress hormones. This only by walking barefoot on grass and resting on the floor on a yoga mat with eyes closed and immersed in deep, slow breathing.
In yoga, we ground ourselves by working with Muladhara Chakra (Root chakra) . So what is the Root Chakra?
Muladhara Chakra, this energy vortex is involved in tending to our survival needs, establishing a healthy sense of groundedness, taking good basic care of the body, and purging the body of wastes. The associated body parts include the base of the spine, the legs, feet, and the large intestine.
Circumstances that pull up our roots and cause a Root chakra deficiency include feeling fearful, traveling, relocation, and big changes in our body, family, finances, and business. Some people, often those with busy minds and active imaginations, don’t need special challenges to become deficient in this chakra; they feel ungrounded most of the time, living more in the head than in the body.
We experience deficiencies in this chakra as “survival crises.” However mild or severe—whether you’ve been evicted, gone bankrupt, or just have the flu-these crises usually demand a lot of immediate attention. On the other hand, signs of excessiveness in the first chakra include greed, hoarding of possessions or money, or attempting to ground yourself by gaining a lot of excess weight.
Muladhara Chakra is associated with the element earth, representing physical and emotional grounding, and with the color red, which has a slower vibration than the colors that symbolize the other chakras. There are many yoga poses that correct first chakra imbalances, bringing us back to our body and the earth and helping us experience safety, security, and stillness.
One exercise that is great for this chakra is rolling a tennis ball underneath one foot and then the other, pressing into it to help awaken the soles (a mini acupressure treatment) and open the “doors” of the feet. Some other ones are to stimulate the toes by moving them and encourage them to spread in standing poses, sit cross-legged and lace fingers in between the toes, reaching from the sole to the top of the foot. Then knealing, curling the toes under, and sit on them for a minute is another great technique that can help circulation to increase in the feet. Following these warm-ups, do some calf openers, hamstring stretches, and standing poses to help open and strengthen the lower body and root the attention downward.
When our hamstrings are tight, the contraction creates a sense that we’re constantly prepared to run away. As someone slowly stretches the backs of the legs in Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) and Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose), you received some of the gifts of the first chakra: calmness, patience, and a willingness to slow down and stay in one place. As you strengthened the quadriceps and opened the hamstrings, you renew the confidence and commitment to the next steps on your life’s journey. This might help the fear ease as it allows you trust the earth and the body.
It is good to end sessions with peaceful restorative poses, like Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose), Salamba Savasana (Supported Corpse Pose), and Salamba Balasana (Supported Child’s Pose), all of which settle an overactive mind and encourage us to surrender to gravity.
Grounding can be anti-inflammatory
A reduction in inflammation as a result of grounding has been documented with infrared medical imaging and with measurements of blood chemistry and white blood cell counts. The logical explanation for the anti-inflammatory effects is that grounding the body allows negatively charged antioxidant electrons from the Earth to enter the body and neutralize positively charged free radicals at sites of inflammation. Flow of electrons from the Earth to the body has been documented.
Good luck Grounding!
To read more on the Chakras, see authors and experts like Anodea Judith, Alan Finger, Deepak Chopra, Caroline Myss to name a few.