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A Good Root

Dec 162012

I was watching an amazing documentary the other day, called ‘What About Me’, by a group called 1 Giant Leap. Filmed by two British musicians who travel the world and record some incredible songs along the way, they also spend time interviewing  philosophers, visionaries and leading thinkers on some of life’s big themes. One of the ideas they explore is how we’re all ‘stuck in our heads’, especially in the West, and trapped in a constant, unending cycle of mostly pointless chatter. Our ‘monkey minds’ are forever babbling, telling us stories, reminding us how we’re not good enough, not clever enough, not attractive enough, and so on. Sounding familiar?
I’m often struck by how ‘ungrounded’ we can be, how we’re ruled by our heads, rather than living in our bodies. But if we began to explore the chakra system, used for thousands of years in eastern philosophies like tantra, we could dramatically improve our energetic, emotional and physical health.
The idea is that we have these spinning, vibrating spirals of energy or ‘chakras’  located in seven main areas around the body. Provided each chakra is open and functioning correctly, energy is free to move through them as it travels around the body. But sometimes, chakras become blocked or sluggish, leading to imbalances and dis-orders manifesting as emotional or physical health issues.
The first chakra is called the root or base chakra and it’s found in the area of the perineum, between the genitals and the anus. It represents issues like survival, security and home, our connection to our tribe or family. The first chakra also grounds us to the earth, acting like the roots of a tree. Imbalances here can lead to physical problems with the lower back, like sciatica, or with the legs, feet, rectum or immune system. And emotional issues relating to this chakra focus on home, belonging, security, providing for ourselves physically and financially and having enough. It’s interesting to note that the current financial crisis comes at a time when we’re disconnected and alienated from our fragile planet like never before.
But don’t despair! There are ways to strengthen the base chakra and nourish this centre. Try placing awareness on your legs and feet more often. Walk barefoot on sand, grass or rock, focus on the sensations in the soles of your feet and feel your connection with the ground. Get a friend to carefully tread on the soles of your feet as you lie face down on a soft surface. It’s amazing how good this can feel, and it can instantly calm the mind.
Root chakra exercises are especially useful if you’re one of those people who’s always thinking or worrying, or if you find it hard to switch off and get out of your head. Spend some time doing root chakra exercises, and you’ll find your mind starts to become more peaceful. So get that monkey mind on a short leash, and teach your brain to work for you, rather than rule you.

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