Signs Your Root Chakra Is Out Of Balance + 9 Ways Get Back On Track
Our chakras are energy systems that connect our body, mind, and spirit. We have seven main chakras, starting at the root. When your root chakra is balanced, you have energy and self-confidence rather than arrogance or fear, and you feel calm, centered and ready for what life brings.
Here's a quick primer on what the root chakra is, how to know it's out of whack, and how to bring it back into balance.
What is the root chakra?
The root chakra, or Muladhara in Sanskrit, is the first chakra in the chakra system. It develops from the ages of 1-7 years old and corresponds to our core needs.
As naturopath and chakra healer Erica Matluck, N.D., writes on mindbodygreen, "Survival in the first seven years of life requires attachment to our primary caregivers, so healthy root chakra development is supported by caregivers who are responsive to our needs."
Just like a tree can't grow without a solid foundation, you cannot thrive if your root chakra is out of whack. If this chakra is blocked or unbalanced, your other chakras—from the solar plexus to the crown—likely are as well.
The root chakra is located at the base of spine, in your tailbone area. It is associated with the color red and corresponds to the Earth element. No surprise, since nurturing this chakra is all about grounding exercises that make you feel confident and secure on your own two feet. Practices like walking barefoot outdoors, doing foundational yoga poses like malasana (garland pose) or mountain pose, and any of the balancing exercises below can help you balance out your root chakra as needed.
Signs of root chakra imbalance:
- You are controlling
- You get angry quickly
- You lack drive or motivation
- You feel self-conscious and insecure around others
- You are tired or lethargic
How to balance the root chakra:
Visualize the color red
Start with the simple meditation of imaging a bright red light at the base of your tailbone. Picture this red light extending down your legs and feet, grounding you to the earth to begin the process of root chakra cleansing and balancing.
I don’t care if you “can’t dance.” Close the door and move your body. This is one of the best ways to become more comfortable in your body; which goes a long way in balancing this chakra. Even better—turn on music and sing along, as singing cleanses your throat chakra for an added bonus.
Do tree pose
Many yoga postures are designed to cleanse this chakra. My favorite is tree pose. Here's a step-by-step guide for deepening this pose:
- You can use your ‘seeing red’ visualization as you firmly plant your entire left foot onto your mat and bring your right foot up into tree pose.
- Keep your hip points squarely ahead and your toes tucked in as you place your foot anywhere on your leg besides your knee.
- Be creative and make your tree pose your own: Place your right leg into half lotus or engage your core and reach your arms overhead, keeping the base of your neck soft and your elbows straight as you rotate the pinky side of your hands in to engage your triceps.
- Most importantly, feel supported and connected to the earth as you hold your tree pose for 5 to 8 breaths before switching sides.
Take a shower
Talk about a wonderful, underrated root chakra cleanser. We are physical animals in addition to being intelligent, thoughtful human beings. Embrace and love your physicality by being completely present as you bathe. Engage your mindful awareness to feel the water dripping down your body and the strength from your legs.
Zen out on a walk.
Take this idea of mindfully moving on your walk with you. Concentrate on your foot leaving the ground and connecting to the earth again with each step. You’ll give your mind a break and cleanse your root chakra at the same time. Here are some more ideas for making your next walk more mindful.
Get a pedicure.
Yes, really! My grandfather had a friend that was known for saying, “you can always tell how well a person takes care of themselves by how they take care of their feet.” This might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but loving your feet and taking the time to pamper your physical body are great ways to also care for your root chakra energy.
Do a root chakra meditation outdoors.
Since the root chakra is all about feeling at home in your body and in the world around you, meditating out in nature can be a wonderful practice. Take a cue from Emma Mildon, author of The Soul-Searcher's Handbook, and place your feet barefoot on the ground for a quick chakra meditation: Close your eyes and focus your energy on your feet, and how they anchor you to the Earth below. Allow yourself to feel safe and balanced in your own body.
Say a positive affirmation.
Saying affirmations can help you stay positive and affirm that you are on the right path. A wonderful affirmation for the root chakra is: I am filled with humility. I am enough as I am.
Start your day by saying this affirmation three times, out loud or to yourself. Or, write it down on a sticky note where you will see it often and remind yourself of your solid foundation.
Use a mudra.
Each chakra also has an associated mudra, or hand gesture, that can help you engage with the energy of that chakra. Take a moment to complete the following root chakra mudra by yoga teacher Andrea Rice:
- Bring your palms together in a prayer at your heart, then interlace the pinky and ring fingers so they fold inside of the palms.
- Extend the middle fingers so the tips touch and then interlace the thumbs and index fingers so they form rings around each other, with the fingertips touching.
- Optional step: Flip this mudra upside down and lower your arms slightly, so the middle fingers are pointed downward at your pelvic region.
The root chakra corresponds with our core needs, and it's the energy center that sets the stage for the rest of our chakra healing. Try these nine ideas for tending to your root chakra through dance, meditation, affirmations, and more, and you'll be ready to move on up to the sacral chakra in no time.
Jennifer S. White is a writer and yoga instructor and the author of The Best Day of Your Life. She holds a Bachelor's degree in geology.