Everything You Need to Know About the Root Chakra

Discover the physical and mental signs of blocked energy in the muladhara and how you may benefit from aligning it.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

The chakras are the seven wheels of energy that move through your subtle body, starting at the crown of your head and traveling down to the base of your spine. When spinning properly, each chakra allows energy to flow through the body. However, if one of these wheels is blocked, your well-being can suffer. The first chakra, muladhara, or “root chakra,” acts as the root of the body. If your root chakra is out of alignment, you may feel depressed, anxious, or even constipated (sorry). 

See also: A Beginner’s Guide to the Chakras

Women meditating with arms stretched overhead, root chakra
Woman in cross-legged position meditating over rocks in nature

The natural element of the root chakra: earth

The first chakra, called muladhara, is located at the base of the spine. “Muladhara” means root, and is associated with the earth element, linked to your ability to dig in and feel firmly rooted in your life. Its associated color is red, hence its links to the earth. 

This wheel of energy is associated with your sense of security, familial relationships and your feeling of home, says Stephanie Snyder, a yoga teacher based in San Francisco. When energy is flowing through the first chakra, you feel firmly grounded in yourself and the world around you.

Signs of blocked muladhara energy 

Physical signs

When your first chakra is out of alignment, you may experience pain in your intestines and lower body. This misalignment can manifest in the physical body in a number of ways, including:

Mental signs

When working with the root chakra, think about your relationship to yourself and the world around you. Where do you feel grounded? When do you feel calm and stable? When your root chakra is blocked, you might experience some of the following:

  • Increased distractibility
  • Rushing from one task to another
  • Feeling exhausted or lethargic
  • Increased feelings of anxiety, stress or depression
  • Feeling stuck
  • Inability to take action
Woman meditating on rock outdoors, root chakra

Reasons to align your root chakra

When your first chakra is aligned, you’ll be able to tap into its ability to support a calm and steady energy throughout your body. You’ll feel grounded and comfortably situated in your body and the world around you. Stress about your sense of place and belonging will dissipate. When you can be assured that your basic needs are met, you’ll be able to focus on your relationships and personal goals.

A woman practices a lunge pose. Her right foot in forward; her left knee is resting on a folded blanket. She has her hands on cork bloks. She has on red leggings and a cropped top.
(Photo: Andrew Clark. Clothing: Calia)

How to tune up your root chakra

Yoga asana for the root chakra

To start bringing your root chakra into alignment, try this Root Chakra Tune-Up Practice to cultivate a sense of grounding in your feet, legs and pelvic floor. This practice includes intense stretches, deep squats and seated poses to connect you to the earth.

To further your focus on feeling grounded, try this 40-minute Root Chakra Grounding Yoga Flow from Yoga with Kassandra:

Pranayama for the first chakra

Recenter your root chakra through Ujjayi or victorious breath—a pranayama technique that is both energizing and calming. You can follow along with a Ujjayi practice in this video:

The benefits of balancing the root chakra

As you work to align the root chakra, you will allow energy to flow freely through your body, establishing your connection to the earth and your surroundings. You may feel an increased attachment to yourself and your home as you ground yourself—physically, mentally and emotionally.

See also:

Chakra-Balancing Yoga Sequence

Wake Up Your Chakras With This Bija Mantra Meditation

How to Move an Idea Through Your Chakras to Realize Your Dharma

Want to deepen your yoga practice? Join Outside+ and get unlimited access to exclusive articles, sequences, meditations, and live experiences—as well as thousands of healthy recipes and meal plans from Clean Eating and Vegetarian Times, plus can’t-miss content from more than 35 other brands, like Women’s Running, Backpacker, and Better Nutrition.

Join Outside+

You Can Do This 15-Minute Yoga Flow Anytime, Anywhere

Ah the hour-long yoga class. It’s quite luxurious, isn’t it? But let’s be frank—some days, it seems impossible to carve out a large chunk of time for your practice. If you ever feel this way (and who hasn’t?) know this: even a few minutes of movement can make a huge difference in how you approach … Continued