The root chakra is responsible for feelings of survival, safety, and security. It is located at the base of the spine. The closest chakra to the earth, our root chakra creates our foundation. The root chakra is commonly associated with physical safety, but other forms of stability (such as financial security and physical health) fall under this chakra as well.
Of the seven chakras, the root chakra is the first to develop and forms during the first 12 months of life. Though it can be influenced by traumatic events that occur in adulthood, the root chakra is often most strongly influenced by formative experiences in our youth.
- If someone is brought up in a world that is safe and secure, their root chakra learns to interpret the world as a generally safe and secure place. This generally leads to a balanced root chakra, and the person often has good health, is able to relax, and feels comfortable in their own skin.
- If someone is brought up in a world where they are not provided a stable base (for example, if we experience abandonment, malnourishment, abuse, birth trauma or neglect), we grow up believing our world is not safe and secure. This may lead to an imbalanced root chakra.
Characteristics of Root Chakra Imbalance
Although it sounds ideal to have “too much” safety and security, an excessive root chakra occurs when the root chakra overcompensates for an early experience, lacking in safety. People with an excessive root chakra become fixated on acquiring security. They are often reluctant to change, and may feel or appear heavy and sluggish. They often have rigid boundaries and focus on routines and financial achievement in order to cultivate a sense of safety.
A deficiency in the root chakra will leave someone feeling ungrounded and fearful. People with deficient root chakras will often be anxious and withdrawn. Because the root chakra is also responsible for financial security, someone with a root chakra deficiency may find themselves with perpetual financial difficulties. They may not feel “real” or grounded in their bodies.
Balancing the Root Chakra
There are countless ways to balance the root chakra, and can be tailored to your personal preference. Take a look at the list below and see if you find two or three exercises that appeal to you:
- Any activity involving physical movement can be restorative for the root chakra.
- Yoga and gentle exercise can be helpful for learning how to safely inhabit the body.
- Touch related therapy, such as massage.
- Since earth is the element associated with the root chakra, spending time in nature can be helpful.
- If you can’t get outside, try bringing reminders of nature into your home (I suggest making your phone background a scene that brings you peace, and making it a habit to take a couple deep breaths while opening the screen whenever you open up your phone).
- Even playing nature sounds in the background of your home may bring you some peace.
- If you’re interested in meditation, you can also visualize your root chakra actually growing “roots” into the earth. Imagine pulling the sensation of safety up through the roots and imagine it filling your whole body.
- Experiment with repeating the phases “it is safe for me to be here,” or “I am supported” while feeling the sensation of your feet on the ground.
- If you struggle to sit still, you can reflect on these phrases while drawing or writing them out.
- Wearing the color red (the color most frequently associated with the root chakra) can serve as a reminder to tune into your root chakra and take a few moments to feel grounded.
- Journaling or reflecting on your feelings about your physical and financial safety may give you some insight into your own relationship with your root chakra.
If you feel stuck or the task of grounding becomes overwhelming at any point, I encourage you to reach out to a trusted professional who can walk you through the process.