Chakra Series: Around the Holidays, Balance Your Root
Ahhhh the winter holiday season is upon us once again. The holidays for many are a complex, delicate time. It tends to be a very full feeling period, with many mixed, opposing, and conflicting feelings playing into the mix.
For a moment, I want to invite you to settle into a comfy position, turn inward, and notice what the word holiday ignites or shifts within you. Set a timer for two to five minutes, and gently repeat in your mind the word holiday. Just breathe and allow your mind & body to wander to what this word symbolizes and represents for you. Alright...here we go...big breath in....
H O L I D A Y
Perhaps you notice feeling flooded with warmth, gratitude, and memories of silly, quirky family traditions. Maybe you sense a shrinking pull or a energetic burst to run away. You may experience a jolt of anger, frustration, or potentially resentment for this distressing time to have made its way back into your life once again. Are you aware of a tickle in your throat? Are you flipping through a memory book of past loved ones who won't be around this time?
You might be feeling a whirlwind mix of all of these things, or maybe none ring true at all. This list is not exhaustive. Notice what you sense, and ask yourself "what inner knowledge or wisdom is my mind and body trying to tell me about the holidays?" Take one more deep breath in and trust what messaging your physical and psychological self are sharing with you.
what inner knowledge or wisdom is my mind and body trying to tell me about the holidays?
For many folx, the holiday season throws one's sense of groundedness and belonging. We feel pulled in many different directions; we experience pressure from work around deadlines before time away, from family demanding attendance at holiday parties despite COVID guidelines, from school with finals and closing grades, and from society inundating us with door busting deals and setting the expectation to give endlessly. When our sense of balance and stability is thrown we may struggle to stay present, or find it difficult remain connected to others, values, goals, or even our sense of self. But one of the most important things to remember around feeling and being centered is that when there is a dip, change, or shift we have the power within ourselves to bring it back. If you're noticing this time of year throwing things off kilter, it may be a sign to balance your root chakra. Before we jump into how to balance this energy, let's learn a bit more about this incredible point of spiritual and physical power.
In Sanskrit, the root chakra is known as 𝙼ū𝚕ā𝚍𝚑ā𝚛𝚊, with 𝙼ū𝚕ā meaning root, origin & essence and ā𝚍𝚑ā𝚛𝚊, meaning basis & foundation. The root chakra is the foundational energy center within the chakra system and is home to our survival instinct. The root chakra is the most instinctual of all of the chakras in that it controls our animal energy that is governed by our fight/flight/freeze response. This chakra represents our safety, stability, security, and basic needs. The root is compromised of whatever grounds you in life, including your need for food, shelter, safety, as well as your emotional needs of interconnectedness and fearlessness. The root gives us the motivation to sleep, eat, engage in sex, and when it comes to our spiritual nature, it enables us to unlock our personal integrity, hold oneself in high esteem, and feel a sense of belonging.
The energy of the root chakra allows us to harness courage, resilience, and resourcefulness in difficult times. This is partially in part because our root chakra is connected to our ancestral knowledge. The root holds a deep, genetic knowing of how our ancestors navigated challenges and celebrated triumphs as this chakra holds familial memories. Modern research in generational trauma has confirmed that our DNA is impacted by our lived experience and that these genetic adaptations stemming from stress/trauma/lived experience are passed from one generation to the next. Experiences of war, famine, abuse, natural disasters, or any other trauma that threatens basic survival can influence our genetic make up. These experiences ultimately influence our karma, in that how we respond to traumatic events and circumstances influences the on-going cycle of cause of effect. According to the theory of karma, how someone acts in response to anything that occurs in existence, whether it be trauma, hardship, or triumph, will influence the fate and destiny of the future. The karmas of our ancestors' lived experiences, as well as our own spiritual seeds from our past and current lives are all held within the energy center of the root.
The root chakra is housed from the coccyx (also known as the tail bone) and runs up through the first three vertebrae of the spine. The root chakra is associated with the adrenal glands, which are largely responsible for our body's ability to produce a stress hormone called cortisol, a hormone secreted when the stress and survival (fight-flight-freeze) response is triggered. Other organs associated with the root are the bladder, colon/large intestine, skeleton, feet, legs, and teeth. When our root chakra is balanced, we experience a sense of safety and security within ourselves, others, and the world. We feel centered, grounded, and connected to the Earth. We experience vitality, happiness, and feel propelled forward in our life's journey. We feel positive about our choices and actions, and have the ability to hold an increased self worth. We are able to concentrate, prioritize, and set goals. We can lean into love, passion, and excitement.
However, when the energy of the root chakra is blocked, overactive, stagnant, or stuck, we experience a deep sense of insecurity. We may be plagued by fear, uncertainty, anxiety, worry, rage, panic, resentment, depression, or a general lack of interest in the world or in our own survival. We might feel chronically on edge or on high alert, or be preoccupied with greed, power, and lust. We might struggle to focus or feel disorganized. One's thinking could be predominately pessimistic, negative, and narrow. The root chakra holds buried hurts, unprocessed trauma, and disappointments. Because the energy in the root is foundational and critically important to the entire chakra system, one must balance the root's energy in order to heal any higher chakra. 𝙼ū𝚕ā𝚍𝚑ā𝚛𝚊 (or grounded energy) flowing is what heals our whole self.
You can balance your root through meditation, yoga (specifically asana yoga poses like Warrior I or Mountain pose), other forms of physical exercise, eating red fruits (like beets, strawberries, tomatoes, or cherries), and by connecting to the Earth through gardening or being barefoot outside. You can also place certain gemstones (garnet, red jasper, black tourmaline, or bloodstone) on the root area when laying down to help open and balance. Smelling essential oils, like Sandalwood, Rosewood, Rosemary, Black Pepper, Cedar, Clove, Ginger, Frankincense, and Myrrh, also help balance the energy in the root. Chakras are also balanced through sound baths and healing vibrations. The sound's vibrations are aligned to the specific vibration of the particular chakra, and when our brain is exposed to the correct vibrational frequency of the chakra for a long period of time, the chakra will be brought into balance. If you feel that your root chakra, or perhaps another chakra is currently out of balance, check out this 7 chakra sound bath here.
Affirmations also assist with restoring chakras back to their natural frequency. To nurture your root, try rehearsing the following affirmations developed by Dr. Shawna Freshwater, a PhD licensed Clinical Psychologist, Neuropsychologist, and Holistic Practitioner.
I feel centered.
I am home.
I am connected to my body.
My body is my home.
I feel safe and secure.
I stand for my values, truth, and justice.
I have what I need.
I am kind and compassionate to myself.
I am infinite possibilities.
I am grateful for challenges because they make me stronger.
I am fearless.
I trust myself.
I love myself.
I trust true source which is universal divine mother providing for my basic needs.
I nurture myself with healthy food, clean water, clean air, exercise,
relaxation, and connection to nature.
𝙸𝚏 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚑𝚘𝚕𝚒𝚍𝚊𝚢 𝚜𝚎𝚊𝚜𝚘𝚗
𝚒𝚜 𝚝𝚑𝚛𝚘𝚠𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚢𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚜𝚎𝚗𝚜𝚎 𝚘𝚏 𝚐𝚛𝚘𝚞𝚗𝚍𝚒𝚗𝚐
𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚠𝚑𝚘𝚕𝚎𝚗𝚎𝚜𝚜 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚑
𝚢𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚜𝚎𝚗𝚜𝚎 𝚘𝚏 𝚜𝚎𝚕𝚏 & 𝚘𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚛𝚜,
𝚝𝚊𝚔𝚎 𝚝𝚒𝚖𝚎 𝚝𝚘 𝚋𝚊𝚕𝚊𝚗𝚌𝚎
𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚛𝚎𝚜𝚝𝚘𝚛𝚎 𝚢𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚛𝚘𝚘𝚝.