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Seven Senses

The Root Chakra: Establishing a Foundation for Health

In her second column exploring the Seven Senses philosophy, Dr. Erica Matluck discusses how imbalances of the root chakra manifest

by Erica Matluck

December 19, 2018

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Do you ever feel like your anxiety is irrationally high, even when the stressors and worries in your life are manageable? Are you anxious about health when you are healthy, or about money when you are financially stable? Do you have trouble losing weight even when you are eating well and exercising profusely? If so, you likely have an imbalance in your root chakra, the energy center at the base of the spine which defines your sense of safety and trust.

Supporting the root chakra is foundational for health and well-being. The root chakra is the first energy center of the subtle body to develop, and therefore becomes the foundation on which all of the other chakras to build. Forming from conception through age 7, the root guides our relationship to survival and impacts our sense of safety and security later in life. Long-term imbalances in this energy center can manifest as physical or mental illnesses, particularly if we feel unsafe. Because just as each organ has a function in the physical body, each chakra has a unique purpose in the subtle body — the root is about survival, which is essential to living a healthy, fulfilling life. It’s often impacted by our external environments and social constructs.
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A healthy root chakra development requires having loving caregivers who can respond to our needs since survival in the first years of life relies upon attachment to our primary caregivers. Growing up in a loving environment allows us to trust our ability to survive in the world and develop secure attachment patterns. With survival as the primary focus in this early phase of life, we often compromise less critical yet authentic needs and desires to secure attachment and survive.

For example, a young child may scream because they want juice instead of milk and do not know how to communicate desire any other way yet.. Their parent may respond with distance at first frightened by the confusion. This reaction, however, threatens the child’s sense of safety and attachment to their parent so they abandon their authentic desire for juice by self-muting instead. This behavior then becomes the foundation on which our more complicated adult lives become– beyond milk and juice.. Throughout life, many of us continue to compromise our authentic desires, feelings, thoughts and expressions to secure the love of others and social acceptance.

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Root chakra development also runs parallel to the process of growing into one’s own individual body. Babies are just beginning to discover their bodies as separate from their mother’s. It is an energetically fluid time of life where babies and children are highly sensitive to the beliefs, emotions, thoughts and energy of others. Some of us pick up the fears our parents felt during this phase of our development and we create our lives mistaking those fears for our own. As children, we are influenced by social and cultural constructs, family values and expectations, and often what we learn is in conflict with what the body authentically wants.

Babies sleep when they want to sleep, eat when they want to eat and eliminate when they need to eliminate. By the time children have entered the education system, they are conditioned to sleep during the night, eat at scheduled meal times, and eliminate when it is acceptable to excuse themselves for the restroom. Childrens’ physiological patterns are molded into those of the collective. As the root chakra develops, we learn to compromise our authentic physiologic needs to gain social acceptance.

If you want to heal imbalance of the root chakra:

  • Work through your fears about being authentic
  • Learn to ground your own energy to feel connected to the earth and your body
  • Clear other people’s needs and desires out of your energetic field
  • Trust the process and trust yourself, even when it feels scary

Here are 3 daily practices to support your root chakra:

Grounding: Stand or walk barefoot on the ground for 5 minutes daily. Choose grass or dirt over concrete to connect with the earth. Focus your attention of the sensation of the ground on the soles of your feet.

Visualization: Close your eyes and visualize the roots of a tree extending from the base of your spine into the center of the earth. Imagine all of the energy in your body and your field that is not authentically yours, draining down the roots into the earth. Don’t worry about who the energy belongs to. Simply allow it to drain out of your body. When you feel complete, visualize yourself chopping the tree trunk off of your body.

Affirmations: Close your eyes and silently repeat the following phrases to yourself as often as possible.

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I accept my fears and I thank them for protecting me in the past.
I am safe and secure just as I am.
I am loved just as I am.
It is safe to trust myself.

Seven Senses is a monthly column where Dr. Erica Matluck, ND, NP shares insights from the Seven Senses philosophy of health. Her holistic approach draws from eastern philosophy and western medicine, and emphasizes the relationship between the physical and subtle bodies. The framework applies a unique understanding of the chakra system to gain a deeper understanding of health and illness.