A chakra is a wheel or circle of rotating energy; some say real, some say metaphorical but useful nonetheless. (See brief overview from last week here.)
We can use the chakra system to chart a path of understanding through the physical body, can view chakras through the eyes of human development, or we can use them to shed light on our habitual patterns and behaviors. We can explore our personal patterns of thought and activity through the lens of the chakras, and we can delve into our personal and cultural belief systems.
There is so much to say about this intricate system and many ways to approach it. The study of these energy centers can engage you for a lifetime, but I hope to pique your interest and share some of the ways I have employed it in my own learning and healing.
The First Chakra
Today we will begin our investigation of the chakras by venturing into the world of the body through the first chakra.
Our ground is our root, and it is through our root receive stability, nourishment, power, and growth. When we do grounding activities, we are consciously choosing to simplify, adopt stillness instead of activity, and connect with the solid core of our being. When we stop and pause to connect with our bodies, we give ourselves time to let our mind settle (or, as Lao Tsu instructs us to let our mud settle) and embrace the ground of our being.
When we are grounded, we have a sense of inner strength that protects us from being overloaded by the stresses of our lives.
The first energy center resides at the base of the spine at the coccyx or coccygeal plexus of nerves. It is the most solid and dense of the chakras, and its element is earth. Its Sanskrit name is Muladhara which means root or support. Its function is survival and manifesting what we need to live well. Its operating principle is gravity, the pull to the center, and the foods that most support it are proteins. From here, we establish ourselves in reality and get in touch with the solid parts of our being.
Working with our Foundation
The most supportive ways I have found to get in touch with these foundational energies are through the body and connection to the earth and nature. In this series, I will share what has been most helpful for me as I walk this path. Then, I encourage you to explore further on your own, and I will share links to resources I have found valuable.
I also want you to know that mindfulness is the foundation for everything we do here. Our intention will always be to “bring awareness to our present moment experience with openness and curiosity.”
You may also see references to the Hero’s Journey. Joseph Campbell spent most of his life mapping out the journey we all take from birth to death. We are the consciousness that seeks to understand and the ones who will courageously walk, skip, or crawl from stage to stage to try to make sense of it all.
In the following practices, we will start by focusing on movements that connect us with our bodies and our connection to the earth, then move on to a body scan that will refine our awareness.
These are intentionally short practices to get you started, but please know that there will be links to longer practices throughout this series.