On Sunday 23rd September, the autumn equinox is upon us, where the day and night are equal lengths. It’s officially the moment that summer ends and autumn begins in the northern hemisphere.
In the yogic world the seasons are almost always acknowledged and Autumn is no exception. During this transitional period, we often shed the carefree nature and behaviours of the summer in exchange for a more reflective and thoughtful period. Indeed as the temperature cools and the skies cloud over, we might well start to wear thicker layered clothing, wrapping a little more tightly around us. Like the falling leaves our gaze falls from the skies to the earth and we connect less to others as we turn inside and inwards. Mother Nature starts to retract and withdraw back into the earth to slip into slumber until the renewal in spring, and we follow suit.
It is this gentle journey toward the downward flowing yin energy, that gravitates us towards the lower chakras, in particular the Muladhara (root chakra). This first chakra is closely related to the earth, its associated element and is all about reaffirming and nourishing all our basic needs.
Although the muladhara is in the subtle body, the physical location is found right at the very base of the spine, between the two sit bones. The 7 key chakras are said to be a vibrating spinning wheel of energy and the Muladhara rotates and vibrates the slowest of all. We align ourselves to this chakra, and respond by slowing down and anchoring ourselves to whatever makes us feel grounded and safe.
If the muladhara is imbalanced, we can feel incredibly insecure and unsafe, with a general mistrust of people and situations. There’s a complete disregard for nature. To boot, in todays society, ‘security’ is usually represented by finances or relationships and characteristically, it’s these that begin to have problems when the root chakra is out of synch. Dysfunctional relationships, anxiety, eating disorders, obsession with money and a tendency to overwork all feature along with a deep fear of losing control.
According to Ayurveda, we should follow our instincts during the Autumn and nurture anything that helps us to feel supported, secure and belonging. We’ve put together 5 top tips for balancing the muladhara for the Autumn.
1. Walking meditation
Mindful walking is about really connecting to the ground and your body being upon the earth. As you walk (ideally bare foot on raw ground like grass if warm enough!), place each heel carefully down peeling your foot to the ball of the foot, then the toes, until your whole sole is on the floor at the exact moment you begin placing the opposite heel on the floor and repeat with the second foot. Concentrate on slow walking like this as if it were your first ever experience of walking. This is a wonderful way to stimulate your Muladhara chakra. Simply walk and breathe. If you can practice this outside in woodland, then you are also discovering the art of Shinrin-yoku.
Smell is the sense of the muladhara, so essential oils and incense are a definite way to balance it out. Patchouli essential oil is a woody aroma with a hint of sweetness and is highly recommended to stimulate the muladhara . It can be used either as a few drops in the bath, as a massage oil or in drops in a diffuser. Along with a selection of Aveda essential oils Mary Ann Weeks Aveda stocks Chakra 1 body mist specifically to balance the root chakra containing essences of olibanum, organic patchouli and vertiver in both our Guildford and Walton stores.
3. Yoga poses
Poses that stretch and stimulate the hips, legs and feet are all great ways to connect and balance our muladhara. Childs pose (balasana), forward folding (Uttanasana), Table top, Mountain pose (Tadasana), Malasana (hindi squat), Lizard (low open hip lunge), Eye of needle (figure 4 pose), Warrior poses (Virabhadrasana), Fire-toes (kneeling toes tucked) and Viparita Karina (legs up the wall) are all good poses to practice.
Our yoga teachers at Mary Ann Weeks Aveda Guildford studio will use many of these poses throughout their sequences helping to balance your chakras and restore harmony in your energetic body. Browse our studio timetable.
4. Soul Bowl Food
Throughout history, tribes would gather together the final harvest and quite literally root down ready for the cold winter and Ayurveda encourages this connection to the natural patterns of the earth’s offerings. Autumnal foods grown in the ground like carrots, beetroot, parsnips and potatoes are comforting, filling and nourishing. These foods should be eaten mindfully and slowly, savouring their dense texture and rich earthen flavours
5. Muladhara Meditation
Sitting comfortably and tall, close your eyes and relax tension as you find it. Notice your sit bones rooted into the floor. Begin to breathe smoothly and deeply giving yourself time to settle.
Visualise a glowing ball of red light right at the very base of your spine. As you continue to breathe and stay focused on this ball of energy, imagine a soft line of light begin to reach down from the red ball into the earth beneath you. As that light maintains its steady glow, let it continue to grow deeper into the ground with every exhale. Imagine it continuing down so deep that eventually it reaches the very core of the earth.
Feel a deep spiritual unification with Mother earth. Imagine hearing the very pulse of her energy and heartbeat connect to you. Continue with this visualisation allowing your breath to keep bringing you back to this any time your mind wanders. Stay here for as long as you are meditating for until you finish by imagining the root chakra releasing the cord of light allowing it to dissolve into the soil