Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Shaking in My Roots

During a septum dies horribilus I completed an assignment on the psychological aspects of the chakras. As part of that assignment we had to choose a chakra and explain how it related to our personality. At the time, I was drawn to mooladhara—the root chakra—the chakra with the basic qualities related to “security of the individual and material posessions”. [1]

Only days before, we were transferring money between bank accounts to ensure that we could pay our mortgage, something we haven't had to do for a long time. My decision to defer the teacher training module of my course so I could increase my work days fell through because there were no client projects that require my skills so I couldn't increase my work days.

Yet after that week of plumbing problems, I started questioning why I felt so worried and insecure. We were just having a cash flow problem, digging into a savings account that we rarely touched to ensure that there was enough money in the account from which our mortgage is debited. And stories in the following days about the financial crisis and increasing homelessness made our problems seem so insignificant and self-centred.

I guess I was also feeling a little lost. I'd just finished a six-month project and was now facing days at work filled with administrative tasks while I waited for a new assignment. I'd also completed four months of study and now had no assignments or a set yoga practice. I'd lost my routine – the ‘roots’ of my day-to-day life!

A deficiency in mooladhara can manifest as mind-numbing, retarding fear or anxiety, or an overwhelming drive to acquire possessions for security. I can see that this has been a part of my personality for a long time and in times of crisis these qualities are more exposed. A balanced mooladhara brings a deep inner security—the realisation that “real security is a quality of the universe ... everything is all right, it is all going as it should.” [1]

Mooladhara is the location of kundalini, the spiritual energy that manifests as “an awakening of inner knowledge”. [2] But it is also the location of “great tamas[3] or inertia.

For me, the difficulty is overcoming this inertia. I cycle through periods where I stress and worry (which achieves nothing) and periods where I plan and scrimp and save. How do I go beyond this to find that inner security and knowledge? How do I establish strong roots, feel grounded and spiritually grow?

There are practices that work with mooladhara such as asanas that focus on the lower body. I'm currently trying to re-establish a regular hatha yoga practice, developing my awareness of mooladhara by incorporating sahajoli and ashwini mudras and moola bandha and reducing stress through the meditation practices of yoga nidra and antar mouna. But I think the hardest thing for me is seeing the positive side of things as described in this article, A Silver Lining to the Financial Crisis. I have a supportive hubby and family, friends, good health, shelter, food, savings. What more do I need?

I had lunch with a friend today and she commented: “We have a good life.” And you know what? We do.


  1. Practical Yoga Psychology, Dr Rishi Vivekananda
  2. Wikipedia, viewed 15 July 2009
  3. Kundalini Tantra, Swami Satyananda Saraswati

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