There are signs of change all around us. The coming of the fall equinox marks a pivotal time in the practice of Ayurveda as we are entering Vata season. Seasons of change are an especially good time to be grounded.
Let us turn our attention to the seven chakras, energy centers located along the spine. These energy centers are connected to nerve, artery and vein meridians, and represent different parts of our identity. (For more information about chakras, see pages 26-31 of Essential Yoga Practice). Each week for the coming weeks we will spotlight a different chakra.
Today we are starting with the Root, or Base, Chakra, also called Mulahadra. It is associated with the color red and the element earth. The legs, spine and adrenal glands are part of this chakra. The Root Chakra has to do with our feelings of security and survival instincts, it links us with our family history and heritage. In yoga, it is known as our physical identity.
Keeping our chakras balanced is essential for a healthy mind, body, spirit connection and the ability to operate as our highest and best self. Balance indicates that there is neither too much, nor too little. For the root chakra, “too much” could indicate greed/selfishness, excess ego, clouded judgment, and/or lack of empathy towards others. “Too little” can indicate feelings of shame, embarrassment, lack of confidence, feeling unlovable or not good enough.
The Root Chakra is an especially important chakra, because it is the foundational energy upon which the other chakras build; if this chakra is sluggish, blocked or out of balance, it is difficult for the other chakras to fully balance.
Both yoga and essential oils provide a unique approach to chakra balancing. Through certain movements, asanas and techniques, yoga allows us to reach up and out and progress in our abilities and understanding…only if we are firmly anchored into the ground. It allows us to feel the support and presence of the earth as a springboard for ourselves and all that we wish to create and contribute. The next time you practice yoga, allow yourself to focus on feeling rooted and grounded as a way to lay a foundation for holistic wellness in your life.
Essential oils can help us train our brain and emotions to think and feel the reality we want to live in, especially if our current reality might contain some residual “lesser desirables.” The chemical constituents in essential oils can support emotional centers of the brain, and we can also associate aroma with specific intentions and situations that can help us anchor and be active participant in our own lives.
Try this: Put a drop of essential oil in the palm of one of your hands, rub your hands together, cup your nose and inhale. Think of a specific intention you have to help you get grounded/centered. Then do any yoga pose of your choice, paying specific attention to the support the earth gives you so that you can reach up or out. Allow yourself to experience and express deep appreciation to your higher power for the gift of the earth as you get more rooted and grounded.