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the first chakra: notes on muladhara plus a practice for stability and security


The seven chakras are "wheels" or energy centers within the human body.



Each one is like a conductor or storehouse of energy that governs different bodily functions from the gross to the subtle and each is associated with a color.  At first, they can seem mysterious and difficult to understand, but once you begin to study the chakras and develop awareness of your energy system, they become more tangible and accessible.

This blog post explores the muladhara chakra, the first of the seven chakras.  Located at the base of the spine, the muladhara chakra is associated with the color red and the earth element.  Muladhara is the most dense and mass of the chakras -- it relates to our senses of security and survival. It also relates to fear. At the physical level, the lower body -- feet, legs, pelvic floor -- is connected to the muladhara.  And naturally this part of human anatomy is also the closest to the ground.

The muladhara chakra is important not only because it is the first and most fundamental energy center, but also because as a society we have become so disconnected from the earth. Our over-scheduled, fast-paced lives often leave us with very little time in nature, or even an awareness of how the earth and its seasons impact us. As a result, the feeling of being “un-groundedbecomes normal.

Here are two practices to strengthen your connection to the earth element and create awareness of muladhara, the root chakra:

- Sit in a comfortable position on the floor, hips elevated and spine tall. Take a moment to settle and close your eyes. Focus on the sensation of your lower body grounding. Feel the feet, thighs and base of the pelvis becoming heavy and grounded. Lift the spine up from this feeling of stability. Bring your attention to the base of your spine- tailbone region or pelvic floor. Hold your attention there, visualizing a spinning disk of red energy. In your mind, begin to repeat the mantra LAM. This is the seed sound for the earth element and will leave you feeling strong and grounded. Stay and repeat LAM for 5 minutes or more, also visualizing the spinning red disk.

- Carve out time in your day for a nature walk. Turn off your phone, head out on foot and notice how as little as 20 minutes walking in nature can clear your mind and leave you feeling calm and connected. Do this whenever you are feeling stressed, anxious or frazzled. Try chanting LAM in your mind as you are walking and sensing the sights and sounds of nature.

Look for more chattra blog posts about the chakras from Nikki…the more you focus on the chakras, their location, qualities and seed sounds, the more real and accessible they will become — and the more aware you will be of your own amazing energy system.

About Nikki Estrada

Nikki Estrada has been in the yoga scene for more than twenty years.  She lectures, leads workshops, teacher trainings and immersions nationwide. Nikki began her formal training in India, focusing on Ashtanga—a very physically challenging style of yoga. She is currently a senior yoga teacher and educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nikki's Vinyasa-based classes are a synthesis of her years of yogic and Ayurveda  study and personal experience, with an emphasis on spirituality, intelligent alignment, meditation and living life more joyfully. Her videos can be found on www.yogainternational.com. More information about Nikki can be found at www.nikkiestradayoga.com   She resides in northern California with her husband and two daughters.

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