On my chakra exploration, I’ve discovered that it’s not a coincidence that it’s taken me so long to focus and begin this process. In fact, I discovered that my focus has been continually on the higher chakras ignoring my base needs. As a direct result, I have lots of creative ideas but have struggled with fulfilling the full potential of my writing output. I spend my moments fretting, imagining and dreaming about all I can achieve but at the end I’ve been accomplishing the bare minimum (for example writing the assigned articles I’ve had for that week, but not meeting my query target or creative writing goals)
Thankfully, this week I’ve seen a lot of changes. Why? Well, I spent this week simply focusing on the first chakra: Muladhara.
Chakras have been linked to both science and yoga since almost the beginning. The earliest mention of Chakras goes back to the sacred Hindu text the Vedas. The Chakras can be open, closed, excessive or deficient. When reviewing the Chakra’s it is positive to review the entire system as a whole and than individually.
Muladhara: The Root Chakra
This first element is our base element, the root. Previously, when I’ve thought of the base chakra, I focused on the grounding aspect, in particular the asanas. Feeling the roots of my body, connecting to the earth. However, I neglected the critical aspect about roots, you need to give them time to grow. I was so eager to jump into the next chakra, that I would focus minimal amount of time on this element. Sometimes, I would spend a day; other times I would spend a week. However, my thoughts did not still.
In my current exploration, I really began to think of this first chakra as a tree. It was a fairly natural concept for me as my family has been in the gardening career for decades. Trees that have a lot of upward growth and little roots, cannot sustain their new growth. In fact, sometimes they perish. To assist a top-heavy tree, I would recommend pruning. I would shear the top growth back and give the tree time to establish stronger roots. Sometimes this can take months, however in case of extensive top growth, it can take years.
This analogy really hit home for me. My thoughts were becoming random branches, continuing to pop up all over, with ideas, plans, and inspirations. However, my limited root system was struggling with sustaining all of these ideas. I needed to grow my roots. I needed to limit my thoughts and ideas.
Thriving in Limitations
In the book, Wheels of Life, Judith Anodea emphasizes that “If we didn’t limit our activities, we would accomplish nothing.” Anodea states the importance of creating a strong base, grounding us back to the earth. Relating the root chakra to several psychological theorists, she emphasizes that this grounding process is our basic survival. We need a thriving root chakra to survive.
When we focus on the root chakra, we are looking at what is real. We are living in the present, in the here and now. So much of yoga emphasizes the importance of this focus: from the breath, meditation and even when we acknowledge personal limitations. Being present is an integral part of yoga.
Routine provides stability for Muladhara. When we have a structured routine in our lives, we know what is happening now and what will happen next. We do not have to worry about the daily items and so can instead focus our energy to our higher needs. Establishing routines in our lives fosters the grounding that is necessary. Work is a great way to provide this routine. Not only does it provide routine, but also stability and money. Anodea emphasizes that, “If we are involved with constant change, we are like a rolling stone that gathers no moss. We’re kept at a survival level because we are constantly building new foundations. “
Shifting Focus to our Basic Needs
In order to open our first chakra, our basic needs have to be met. The practice of the asanas can definitely help strengthen the root chakra. But before you even begin this part, look at the way you live.
- Are you eating regularly?
- Is the food that you are eating healthy?
- Are you drinking enough water?
- Do you get enough sleep?
- Are you warm? Do you have enough clothing?
- Do you have a safe place to sleep?
- Are you able to pay your bills?
- Do you have a source of income?
- Are you healthy?
When our basic survival needs are threatened, our amygdala becomes heightened and we jump into the flight or fight mode. In this mode, it is very difficult to accomplish any of our higher needs. Instead, we need to review our lives and find out ways to establish that stability, to feel grounded.
For this week, I am going to focus on those first aspects of Muladhara, introducing limitations and increasing stability. I’m going to introduce limitations in my life, not only creating a structured routine (a difficult task in a freelance world) but ensure that I follow it. To help with this process, I’ve posted a routine at my desk, including my family’s meal plan, a cleaning schedule and time for rest.
In addition, I have posted two words on my desk and on my fridge: BE PRESENT.