The First Chakra- The Root Chakra

Written by Kate • May 26, 2011 •

Root Chakra- Image thanks to Rodessa4


The First Chakra-  The Root Chakra

The first of the seven chakras is known as the root chakra. It’s located at the perineum and the base of the spine, the lowest parts of the trunk of your body.  Its function is to provide for survival and for security and grounding, to have your basic needs met.  It is associated with the color red and the earth element.

See the first article in this series, the overview of the 7 Chakras.

When we’re born, our root chakra is like a bud waiting to bloom and this chakra is associated with the first two years of life. Our other chakras are closed.  We spend the first two years or so of our life, focused solely on surviving with little thought to the other aspects of life which, later, will so completely consume our lives. But for now, as infants and toddlers, we simply want and need to be fed, clothed, housed, taken care of, and loved.  It is these aspects of the root chakra we take into later life.

Open and Balanced
When your root chakra is open and balanced, you have a basic sense of security, of being grounded with a peaceful sense of stillness. You can firmly say, “I have a right to exist, a right to be here”. You feel, for the most part, that you have enough money to meet your basic needs, that your housing and job situations are secure, and that in a most basic sense, you are taken care of and your needs are met.

Unbalanced or Weak
When your root chakra is unbalanced or weak, you feel, as you can imagine, insecure, unmoored, concerned about money, your job, your house, your family, and can feel a low level anxiety [or keenly felt fear] about basic survival needs.

There are two types of root chakra imbalance issues. The first can be deeply rooted based on a childhood that didn’t meet your basic needs. You were raised in a home that didn’t provide some or many of your basic needs; enough food, enough basics, parents worried about money, several moves which uprooted you from home after home, or the loss of a parent.

The second can be situational and one that arises later in life based on a new crisis, such as loss of a job, loss of a home, sudden financial crises, or other situations in which your basic needs that are no longer being met.

Symptoms of a Root Chakra Imbalance

  • Are you afraid you don’t have enough?
  • Are you worried that you’ll never have enough?
  • Do constantly worry about money?
  • Do you feel like you need someone else to take care of you, like you’re not enough to take care of yourself?
  • Are you preoccupied with food or money or a sense of control over life?
  • Are you worried about what is around the corner, rather than trusting that life will go well?

If you answered yes to some or many of the above-listed questions, your root chakra is probably out of balance.

Examples of Situations that Can Throw Your Root Chakra Out of Balance

I have a few examples from my own life in which I recognize that have created instability in my own life and that I still work on, even years later.

Peace Corps Benin and Buffets
In the mid-90s, I joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to the West African country of Benin. In addition to uprooting myself from my job, my friends, and my close family, I flew to an entirely different continent and plucked myself down into a new place in the midst of a foreign culture surrounded by total strangers. But this I was expecting and while I felt quite homesick and understood more fully just how deeply I had put down roots in my life in Washington, DC, I was excited about the experience.

We then went to a neighboring country of Togo, where Peace Corps holds its training for both Benin and Togo. That year, the Peace Corps in Benin, for the first time, decided to change its normal operations and condense two training groups of 40 to one group of 80. This would allow Peace Corps to focus fully on training just once a year, thereby saving time, money, and difficulty of two separate groups.  The only problem was that the training staff was accustomed to handling 40 trainees and it turns out they didn’t quite have enough space for all of us.  So a few of us were housed in across the street, with the teachers. No problem!

But when it came to meal time, the cooking staff was also unfamiliar with cooking enough for 80 people versus 40, which meant there was never enough food to go around. If you didn’t get there early, there was a real chance that you wouldn’t have enough to eat. And we didn’t know enough yet to go into town and get our own food so for the those early weeks, I was at the Peace Corps’ mercy to get my food, clean water, and all my basic survival needs.  So in the six weeks I trained in Togo, I learned to get to the chow hall early and “get my share” or I would go without.  We then went back to Benin and finished the rest of our training in a larger city and never really had to be concerned about getting our a regular meal, and by that time I was more focused on how ill I had become- getting used to the dysentery that I would occasionally get and the giardia that I would often get over the next two years. But that’s a different story.

I hadn’t realize the effect my six-weeks of potentially no-food-at-each-meal would have on me for, well, the rest of my life. Upon my return to the US, when I saw a buffet at someone’s home or at a restaurant, I had an urge to get up and get what I need-imagine me feeling like I need to elbow out other guests,  to pounce on the food.  It felt desperate and out of control, and I didn’t like the feeling.  So I faced the sense of deprivation I get from a buffet -oh the irony- and in the first few years after my return, I made myself sit and allow everyone else to get their food before me. I acknowledged in my mind that there was plenty of food and I would have everything I wanted to eat and more when I was ready. And I acknowledged that I had the power to meet my own needs.

Now, 15 years later, I can still feel a surge of small panic and my mind shouts: “THERE’S NOT ENOUGH FOOD” at some buffet situations. And if that happens, I take a deep breath and I know that I can provide. Even if there isn’t enough food, it’s not an emergency. And in all likelihood, there will be enough at this and at every other buffet.  I ground myself, I feel the security knowing that I can provide for myself no matter the circumstances.

Renting A House- In Foreclosure
A few years ago, we moved out to the exurbs to try out the quiet life, after living in the heart of DC for years. We weren’t sure we’d like it so we decided to rent. Three months after we moved in -on a two-year lease- we got the notice that the house payments had been in arrears for nine months and the house was moving into foreclosure.  It took a few months but the owners saved the house from foreclosure the day before it was to go on the block. However, the threat of foreclosure [on a house for which we were still paying rent!] and what seemed like immediate eviction, even in these times,  loomed for the rest of our lease. We then spent the next 18 months trying to buy a house- but never knowing if we’d get a foreclosure notice.

We succeeded in buying a great house in a great area nearby and moved in. It was only then that I realized the depth of how insecure I had felt, how I never really moved into the rental, fully unpacked, “let my hair” down because I wanted to be able to leave on a few months notice. Now that I have a home, I feel settled. I feel rooted. I feel secure. I love this sense of belonging.

Knowing What You Know Through Stillness
Sometimes when you’re in the middle of your life, you can’t recognize what’s going on and what’s driving your sense of unease, your constant worry.   Stillness is a nearly universal remedy for understanding what is at the heart of your unease.

Take a moment. Find at least 5 minutes of uninterrupted time for yourself. Take several long, slow deep breaths and get yourself into as relaxed a state as possible. Ask yourself about what you’re anxious about. What are you worried about? Do you feel like you have enough food? Money? Or are you worried that you won’t in the future? Take an inventory of your basic concerns about food, money, your job, your housing, your ability to meet your most basic needs. You may be in the middle of a situation in which your basic needs aren’t being met or you’re on the verge of losing your job, your home, your car, or your marriage.  And you can have gone through any of this and are now in a new situation but you haven’t yet healed yourself of these upheavals and still feel the anxiety and unease of your money/job/marriage/life woes. No matter the situation, if you have root chakra issues, there are a variety of ways through which you can ground yourself.

Ways to Ground Yourself
Many of the remedies below don’t cost a thing and can take just a few minutes each day. If you’re actually going through a true crisis, it’s something you will get through and soon enough you’ll be on the other side of the situation, one way or another. The following suggestions will help lessen the stress and anxiety these issues can bring up.

And if the anxiety and fears are simply a way of life based on your childhood and past experience but you really aren’t in actual crisis, try to wake to the fact that you do have enough money. That you do have a loving family. That you do have your basic needs met.

Be Outside

  • Go on a walk in nature, in a park, around a lake, in a garden
  • Lie on the ground
  • Garden. Plant a flower or a plant or weed your space.
  • Walk in the grass barefoot

Take Care of Yourself

  • Organize Your Space
  • Clean Up Your House
  • Get a massage
  • Meditate for at least 5 minutes per day, but preferably 20 minutes
  • Say some loving-kindness affirmations to yourself
    • May I be well.
    • May I know peace.
    • May I be free from suffering.
  • Eat a nutritious, well prepared meal.
  • Listen to your body and honor what you’re feeling, what to do, don’t want to do, want to say.
  • Spend some time at the library or bookstore, browsing your favorite section.
  • Cherish yourself in a way that makes you feel centered, even for a brief time.

Honor Yourself

This may seem like a strange one but by telling the truth, facing what needs to be faced, we become more grounded. Lying, fibbing, and not honoring what we’re feeling lead to subtle but real “kinks” in our energy flow.

Many of the basic hatha yoga poses are quite grounding. They can be done on your carpet in your bedroom or any space where have a little bit of room and 5 minutes free from interruptions. These include:

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

Unfamiliar with EFT? Check out this page to show you the basics, for free. There are many other sites that have a more thorough explanation of the technique but they require you to provide your email address. Your choice!

EFT at the highest level: you first state your concerns and that you deeply love and accept yourself. You then release each of the specific ideas, anxieties, and fears that you are feeling. Then you state affirmations or better ideas that should replace your anxieties and fears and that make you feel better, more empowered by thinking them.

Deeply Love and Accept Yourself

You first touch the karate chop point [as shown on the link] while releasing the block through stating, “Even though I _______ [worry about money, feel life isn’t going to work out, have anxiety about my job, worry constantly about losing my home, etc], I deeply love and accept myself.


Then go through each point tapping three or four times at each point; eyebrow, side of eye, under the eye, under the nose, under the chin, the collar bone, under the breast/ribcage, under arm, and crown – while releasing whatever it is you’re fearing.  You can go around the tapping circuit a few times until you’ve fully release what you need to.

Starting tapping at the eyebrow and going through each point:

I release the fears the make me feel stuck, my worries about money, my feeling like I can’t make money, my feelings about not having enough, my feeling that I can’t ever have enough, never good enough…etc

[Keep tapping]. I release all of this from my body.

[Keep tapping]. I release from my root chakra, from my whole body:

Living paycheck to paycheck, not able to stay in a good job, not able to get a good job.. [fill in whatever fears you’re feeling that are keeping from meeting your basic needs -as you keep tapping]


Now you begin replacing the fears and anxieties you’ve just released through saying affirmations that work for you, while tapping through the entire circuit again.

[Start tapping] I am worth it. I deserve to be here. I count. I can make a lot of money. I live an amazing life. I can have more than enough to meet my needs.  Life is easy and fun. I can easily and gracefully provide for myself and my family. I have total abundance in all areas of my life. I am richly rewarded for all that I do. I create healthy relationships. I am of the light.  [Fill in what works for you….]

Keep Going

Continue with any of these suggestions, from hatha yoga, to EFT, to taking care of yourself. These grounding techniques will help balance your chakras and make you feel more grounded and centered as you go through your life. Once you feel balanced, centered, and still, consider looking at your next chakra, the sacral chakra.

What helps to ground you? Are there other ways you have to bring yourself back to center?

Next up: The Second Chakra- the Sacral Chakra

Chakra Overview– This is the first in a series on the 7 Chakras

Join the Conversation

7 Responses to "The First Chakra- The Root Chakra"

The Second Chakra | Kate Allen on May 31, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink |

[…] I mentioned in my last post on the first chakra, the root chakra is associated with the first two years of life. We spend the first two years or so […]

The Third Chakra- The Solar Plexus Chakra | Kate Allen on June 2, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink |

[…] 7 Chakras System. Here is the first post, an Overview of the 7 Chakras, here is the second post, the Root Chakra, and here is the third post, the Sacral […]

The Fourth Chakra- The Heart Chakra | Kate Allen on June 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink |

[…] 7 Chakras System. Here is the first post, an Overview of the 7 Chakras, here is the second post, the Root Chakra, here is the third post, the Sacral Chakra, and here is the fourth, the Solar Plexus […]

The Fifth Chakra- The Throat Chakra | Kate Allen on June 9, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink |

[…] 7 Chakras System. Here is the first post, an Overview of the 7 Chakras, here is the second post, the Root Chakra, here is the third post, the Sacral Chakra, here is the fourth, the Solar Plexus Chakra, and here […]

The Seventh Chakra – The Crown Chakra | Kate Allen on June 15, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink |

[…] 7 Chakras System. Here is the first post, an Overview of the 7 Chakras, here is the second post, the Root Chakra, here is the third post, the Sacral Chakra, here is the fourth, the Solar Plexus Chakra, here is […]

The Seventh Chakra – The Crown Chakra | Kate Allen on June 16, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink |

[…] on the 7 Chakras System. Here is the first post, an Overview of the 7 Chakras, the second post, the Root Chakra,  the third post, the Sacral Chakra, the fourth, the Solar Plexus Chakra,  the fifth post, the […]

Manifesting with the Chakras « Kate Allen on December 13, 2011 at 6:12 am | Permalink |

[…] you’d like an overview of each chakra, you can check out my previous blogs on the root chakra, the sacral chakra, the solar plexus chakra, the heart chakra, the throat chakra, and third eye […]

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