Chakras are spinning wheels of energy in your body—a movement repeated throughout the universe, from galaxies to atoms. Each of the seven chakras reflects a different aspect of consciousness that's crucial to living fully.
If a chakra is blocked, it can result in both physical and spiritual ailments. The first chakra—the Muladhara, or the root chakra—is an especially important one, as it's the foundation of the entire system.
The Muladhara sits at the base of the spine near the perineum, and its main functions are survival, stability, and connection to family or tribe. If you experience many health or financial problems, feelings of panic or fear, unexplained pains in your body, or feelings of disconnect and alienation from those around you, you may need to work on opening this chakra.
Beyond self-care and body awareness, the poses below are meant to stimulate and release energy from the Muladhara.
First, make sure that your body is properly warmed up with a flow sequence. Take five to ten sun salutations, integrating a Vinyasa (exhale to Chaturanga or knees/chest/chin, inhale to upward-facing dog or cobra, and exhale back to downward-facing dog) between each.
Now, let's get ready to move into the poses.
To come to knee-to-chest pose (apanasana), come to lie on your back. Stretch out your hands and feet, then pull your right knee into your chest. Feel your muladhara pressing against the ground.
Make small circles with your raised knee in one direction, then the other, and take five breaths. Switch legs and repeat.
Roll up to sitting, come up to standing in a forward fold (uttanasana), then slowly lower down into a squat (malasana). Place a block or blanket under your tailbone so you are supported.
Make sure that your shoulders are melting into your back and your neck remains long. Stay here for five full breaths.
Supported Malasana Twists
Place your right fingers or palm on the floor so that your right arm is pressing into your right thigh. Lift your left hand into the air. Gaze at your raised hand and pull your chest toward the sky, keeping your spine long. Stay there for five breaths. Switch to the other side and repeat.
Come up into forward fold (uttanasana), then step back into downward-facing dog (adho mukha svanasana). Come forward into a plank and bring yourself all the way down to the floor.
Lift one foot at a time and move it back an inch or two to lengthen your lower back. Then bring your head, arms, and legs up into the air, coming into locust pose (salabhasana). Hold for three full breaths, and release.
Come up again into either another locust pose or a bow pose (dhanurasana), and hold on to your ankles. Hold for three breaths and release.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Roll over onto your back. Bring your feet close enough so that you can touch the backs of your ankles. On an inhale, lift your pelvis, clasp your hands, and roll your shoulders underneath you into a bridge pose (setu bandha sarvangasana).
Stay up for five breaths, then come down, one vertebrae at a time. Come up a second time with a block or blanket underneath your sacrum for a grounded, restorative version.
Roll over onto your back and come up to sitting (on padding if necessary). Stretch out both legs in front of you, then take your right foot and press it into your inner left thigh.
Square yourself toward your right leg (this is actually a twist!), raise your arms to the sky, then come down into a forward fold (janu sirsasana).
Come only as far down as you can with a straight spine. Stay there for five breaths, then turn and repeat over your right leg.