Grounding the Base Chakra
Number 2 in a cut-out-and-keep series
Grounding the Base Chakra for Comfort, Security
Yoga is a peace-inducing healthful activity that helps wellbeing and tranquility and tones the body â€“ even if you do just 10 minutes.
This week, we experience the First, Base, or Root Chakra (Muladhara), located at the base of the spine. The name means support, or foundation. Its color is red, or dark red. This chakra relates to feelings of comfort, security, safely, sufficiency and having our physical needs met. If you have difficulty in any of those areas, then you may have a block in the flow of natural life-force energy (prana) in this chakra, affecting your connection to the earth, which is the energy source (energy should flow from the earth, up through your base and other chakras to the crown of the head, then back down again). The base chakra is located at the base of the spine (the perineum), a place which really is our physical foundation â€“ the first eight cells of an embryo grow outwards from this place to form the body, and it is also an important nerve plexus. These simple yoga techniques help you feel more grounded, secure and present, by harmonizing the base chakra.
Begin with the warm-up from last weekâ€™s issue (online at www.thebalitimes.com), especially the Grinding and Grounding and Camel Ride, which are great for the base chakra. The aim of the warm-up is to ground ourselves, or connect the base chakra with the earth, before doing yoga, to make the energy circuit in the body ready for the flow of energy.
Then kneel with one heel pressed against the base chakra, as you reflect a moment on the Base Chakra: The Human Challenge and Gift – to feel safe and secure in the physical plane, to manifest to meet our basic needs. Soul Desire – to feel nurtured and nourished, to experience belonging to the whole. Primal Relationship – with physical reality, the Earth, natural forces, body, feeling sensations. Add the power of intention to your yoga practice if you wish â€“ for example, your intention to strengthen the relationships described above, or your agreement to support yourself (in which case, others will support you also). A physical action, such as yoga or dance, done with such an intention can powerfully bring your wish into reality.
Sit on the ground – on a doubled towel, rug or yoga mat – legs stretched out in front of you. The spine is straight. Bring your right foot on top, or merely against, your left thigh. Now lean forward with a straight spine and grab the big toe of your extended leg, or simply hold your calf or ankle (never push it, just keep up at a comfortable pace). Breathe deeply in and out through the nose. Continue for 2-3 minutes. When ready, inhale deeply, stretch forward a little more than you thought you could, exhale and release. Repeat with the other leg for 2-3 minutes. This exercise stretches the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body, reaching from the back all the way down the backs of the legs. Known as the life-nerve in Kundalini yoga, stretching it is said to extend your life and this is a very good youthening and anti-aging exercise to do daily.
Arrive on all fours, hands shoulder-width apart, knees level with the hips. To begin, curve the spine forwards, into Cat pose, with the head dropped forward. Now inhale through the nose, as you throw the head back and curve the spine back the other way into Cow pose, bottom sticking out. Exhale through the nose, drop the head, curve forward into Cat. Continue to alternate between cat and cow (a rhythmic flicking movement) for 2-3 minutes, going at your own pace. This one is excellent for spinal flexibility and security and releases stuck energy from the lower spine, strengthening the lower back, which also relates to feelings of security about money.
(Note: breathing is usually in and out through the nose in Kundalini yoga, as this keeps the prana generated by the exercise within the body. If you want to sense what prana looks like, by the way, look at a raw carrot â€“ they are packed full of prana.)
This radical inner-thigh stretch is also a good one to include in your warm-up. From sitting, grab your feet and bring the soles of your feet together, pulling your feet in towards your groin as far as you can without straining. Hold your feet as you lean forward into the stretch, elbows jutting forward, with your chin somewhat jutting forward and out also. Continue with long, deep breathing through the nose for 2-3 minutes. This one releases sexual energy that is often trapped in the inner thigh area, so that it may be transmuted and used.
Gently come out of it and meditate in Easy Pose (see first in series) for 2-3 minutes to complete.Filed under: Health