The root chakra, the base chakra, or the Muladhara, is no stranger to anyone with even a passing knowledge of Yoga. All those who have heard of Kundalini Shakti have encountered the Muladhara. It is the entry point – for one trying to open his chakras, it is the first one he has to open, and to those who are seekers trying to ultimately realise the highest truth, this root chakra is step 1.
Perhaps because of its fame as the gateway to awakening the Kundalini Shakti, there is a tendency to perceive this chakra as just a threshold, that merely serves to transition us into the next staircase upwards. The upper chakras, the Vishuddhi and Ajna are revered and shrouded in mysticism and unattainability, the lower chakras, especially the Muladhara are often relegated to secondary status. Even those who know the dangers of an imbalance in Muladhara – negativity, insecurity and baser instincts of greed and coveting – are often unaware of just the immense range and potential of this Chakra.
Muladhara as the foundation of life
The Yogic tradition tells us that the very first manifestation of life that happens in the womb, is the Muladhara. Its very name – which means foundation – refers to not just the foundation of the Kundalini path – but to the core of life itself. It is around this that our body begins to form, and it mirrors the energy around which it forms – imperfections in the energy foundation will manifest as imperfections in the physical body as well.
This is why the serious Yogis among us give this root chakra the highest of respect, for without nurturing and strengthening the foundation, nothing lasting or fruitful can be built.
Having understood this, let us turn to look at the implications of the Muladhara in Yoga. Being stable and rooted in the Muladhara is essential to help us successfully open and manage the higher chakras, especially the Third-eye Chakra or Ajna, which takes us into the murkiest of spiritual waters. If we are not extremely rooted in a firm Muladhara, then we will be unable to control the energy flow that happens with the opening of higher chakras. The result? Immense danger to ourselves sin the form of mental imbalances and psychological breakdowns.
Muladhara and Kayakalpa
Apart from this, there is an entire school of Yoga that has evolved out of Muladhara, called Kayakalpa – kaya meaning body and kalpa referring to a long period of time. Kayakalpa involves the strengthening of the earth aspect of our bodies, with the aim of longevity or long life. Practitioners of Kayakalpa focus on preventing or slowing down the deterioration of those parts of our bodies that naturally age with time.
A tremendously involved, intense and intriguing philosophy lies behind this practice of Kayakalpa. It sees the agelessness, the hardiness, the stability of a rock, and then uses mental processes to drive the body to achieve that state – the state of being an immutable, eternally present rock. Scientifically, it has been explained that secretions of the pineal gland – which lies below the Third-eye Chakra helps in this process.
While one goal of Kayakalpa is this rock-like attainment of long-life, it has more understandable, and more accessible goals – balance, perception, and grace.
Balance: Strengthening the Muladhara brings balance to all our life. Like the Vrikshasana, which is one of the most important asanas in fortifying the Muladhara, this chakra teaches us to look within and bring balance and measured composure to all things in our life. A fully awakened Muladhara will shield us from all storms of life, by enabling us to look within and easily find equilibrium.
Perception: A closely allied benefit of a vitalized Muladhara is enhanced perception. Such a root chakra pushes our senses upward, toward the higher chakras, and enables us to see things of this world, not through the cloud of our minds, intellects or emotions, but simply as they are, without any falsity or pretense. Such enhanced perception is nothing but pure and perfect wisdom.
Grace: Finally, when this upward journey culminates, built on the strongest and most carefully structured of foundations, with heightened perceptions and awareness, Grace begins, as a rush of the energy of the Divine. If our Muladhara is weak, the infinite Grace or energy will break us. The body must be built up to withstand the ultimate flow of energy. Many believe that strength of mind is essential and more importantly, sufficient. However, it is crucial that the body is capable of withstanding such a moment when the energies starts flowing through all the chakras. And the absolute only factor that can make this possible is a strong Root Chakra that serves as a reservoir to receive and channelize the energies in such a way that we do not physically yield and break.
We have seen therefore, how the Muladhara is the basic and most important chakra – and one with important roles to play all through our Yogic journey. If you’re interested in awakening or strengthening your root chakra, continue your Muladhara journey here.
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