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Making Belonging a Practice, Part Two - Muladhara Chakra

We are energetic beings, as much as we are physical, spiritual or intellectual ones. Energy can be experienced through fluctuations in the nervous system, whether we're feeling calm or excited. And many yoga traditions also include work with the chakra system, tuning into and interacting with the subtle energies that associated with the set of seven energy centers along the spine that influence physical, mental, and emotional health.


Each chakra is associated with a different color, element, and aspect of the self. When the chakras are balanced, energy flows freely and we experience well-being. When the chakras are blocked, energy gets stuck and we may experience physical, mental, or emotional imbalances.



For October, we will start with the most base-level chakra, called the muladhara chakra. Muladhara means "root support" in Sanskrit. The root chakra is located at the base of the spine and is associated with the earth element. It is responsible for our sense of grounding, stability, and security. When the root chakra is balanced, we feel safe, secure, and connected to the earth.


If we're looking to enhance our sense of belonging, this can be a great place to start. Often chakra exploration uses language referring to a chakra being "blocked," which can feel like a scary diagnosis sometimes. For me, it's been helpful to look at these energy centers as areas of opportunity, rather than deficit. Not that I have a problem per se, but to enhance my sense of say security and safety, I might look to enhancing the energy in the muladhara chakra.


What are some ways we can do this in a yoga practice?

  • Yoga poses that ground and strengthen the body, such as mountain pose, warrior poses, and tree pose. Also poses that are downward-facing (like down dog or forward fold), or have lots of contact with the floor (like savasana) or any of the yin/restorative poses.

  • Meditation practices that focus on grounding and stability, like yoga nidra, which is done lying down.

  • Breathwork exercises that help to connect with the body and the earth element (think relaxing and slowing the nervous system).

  • Using one's drishti (eye gaze) to connect with the world around us, reminding us that we are a part of our environment (rather than getting lost in thinking).

Remembering that we are connected and rooted to this earth, can be supportive. Even if you've never thought of yourself as a person who understands or works in the energy realm, we can all meet ourselves where we are, and start to feel into how we do experience our energy, and how we can enhance our own personal empowerment in this area.



Want to learn more about how to make energy work practical? Try taking one of our classes, or join me on retreat October 13-15 at The Society Hotel in the Columbia River Gorge, where we'll be doing chakra meditations for balance and courage.

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