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Vol. 9 No. 3 August 2023  


"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop."
--Ovid, Roman poet, from Ars Amatoria


I do not know anyone who is not moving through intense challenges now. If you are facing new, uncharted territory, you are not alone. Remember the activities that bring joy: being with friends, listening to music, walking in nature, producing art, and tending to the soul-satisfying aspects of life. Allowing gentleness, care, and opening through experiences that may be scary, sad, and tough can nurture a quiet peace that allows us to process and integrate these times in order to transform them into wisdom. With wisdom, we can return to joy.


Chakras: One

The first chakra (aka the root chakra) is located at the base of the spine; it processes the information we need to establish and maintain physical wellbeing. Some refer to the ability to cultivate physical health as being the ability to access our survival information. However, framing the gift of the first chakra in terms of physical health seems more accurate and less scary than talking about it in terms of physical survival, which sounds like we are always under threat. If you are reading this, you are surviving, and may wish to increase vitality by tapping into the wisdom of the first chakra.

As babies, we receive our parents’ information through first chakra transmissions on the conditions in which we are living. Is the world safe? Are there enough resources? How do we anchor into our bodies? What do we need in order to care for our physical bodies? How do we set up a physically healthy life? This information is crucial when we are young. As we mature, we develop enough independent information to separate from the concepts that run through our parents’ first chakras. We may be angry at our parents for their sense of how to survive on the planet. Even this anger can help us to disconnect from our parents’ first chakras, and begin to work from our own information.

The first chakra allows us to connect to the bountiful resource of the Earth. Because the Earth holds everything that we need to support our physical wellbeing, we feel most peaceful physically when this connection is strong. The Earth, too, helps us to flush out the notions we conjure or acquire that are not true, including those that originally came from our parents. In this way, the Earth is our sounding board, support, and purifier. While many people recommend spending time in nature to connect with the Earth—and this is a lovely activity—we need not be located in a natural environment in order to gain the benefits of the Earth’s healing and restorative offering. Instead, we need only to allow ourselves the connection to these qualities of the planet, wherever we are on it.

Because our physical wellbeing is so tied to the Earth, we can notice seasons and cycles in our bodies. Menstruation is an obvious example of physical cycling. However, other hormonal cycles are at play throughout our lives. And, sleeping and waking are cycles, as are eating and fasting. In fact, many people study the profound effects of biorhythms on our entire experience of embodied wellbeing; note that chronological time is housed in the first chakra. Basically, our physical bodies thrive on the practice of routines that are based in the awareness of natural cycles and seasons. For example, the phases of youth, adulthood, mid-life, and elder are part of the wisdom of the first chakra. As we come into harmony with the natural world and relate appropriately with both short-term and long-term seasons and cycles, we enhance our physical wellbeing.

While the first chakra houses the information that we need to access physical vitality, it also contains the alarm system that alerts us when things are off kilter, either in our bodies or our environments. This alarm system is the kundalini. It will kick on when the body—or the environment—is in danger. It activates the adrenal system and motivates the sympathetic nervous system, which can contribute to feelings of being scared, anxious, and unsafe. When the kundalini is in full gear, our bodies call on all systems to focus on eliminating the threat at hand. While the kundalini activates the fight-flight-freeze response on the one hand, it also aids in releasing traumas and healing diseases on the other. Think of how a high fever clears an infection. This is how the kundalini can operate to heal our physical wellbeing, as well as to notify us to respond to threats. Hence, kundalini can be both activating and re-balancing.

To the extent that sexual expression is a function of “sowing seeds,” alleviating anxiety, or promoting physical health, it, too, emanates from the first chakra. (When sexual interaction acts as a relational expression, it is a feature of the second chakra.)

We deepen our access to first chakra wisdom when we deepen our sensory awareness. This chakra asks that we savor our senses; it reminds us to smell the roses. Just as taking in sensory delights requires slowing down, this chakra moves at Earth speed. Compare physical healing to the growth cycle of a flower. The flower begins as a seed that must germinate, crack open, and begin to push through the soil in the springtime. Eventually, it reaches the sunlight where it continues to grow and develop until, one day, it blooms. This is the way of physical health, vitality, and wellbeing; it is how life moves through matter. It is a slow, powerful process.

Those who focus on the first chakra express their knowledge through, among other things, participation in nutrition, athleticism, farming, horticulture, herbalism, medicine, physical therapy, ecology, and naturalism.

The first chakra houses the information needed to cultivate a harmonious relationship with the natural world, including the physical body. Embodied experience offers valuable insights; luxuriate in your senses!



Heidi Szycher, PhD


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