The Root Chakra - artist's rendering of the root chakra

How will you hold the rare and perilous given you? Dawn begins in the bones
– Risa Kaparo

The Connection Between the Psyche and the Soma

We are not just physical bodies, nor are we the untouchable substance of our thoughts and feelings. Somewhere in the interrelationship between our physical bodies (soma)  and our psychological landscapes (psyche) we confront the spectrum that is the human experience. Whether we are talking chakras, dreams, philosophy or spirituality the real brilliance is that all these systems have interconnectivity. We will see how the chakras align and open psychic and physical intimacy. And, whether knowing it or not, we actually crave this.  When you hear things like, “My gut instinct” or, “my head and my heart,” we recognize some sense for the wisdom of the body and the importance of integration. Specifically, connection between the psyche and the soma.

More Than Our Physical Being

But what flows through the body that holds it together? We are more than our physical being. Referred to as the flow of subtle energy, the electromagnetic fields that comprise and contain our essence is a scientifically founded and experientially substantiated fact. The space between our cells is as voluminous as the cells themselves. How is it that we can experience energy? How can we consciously enter or exit the sensory world through intention? We want to take some time these next weeks to help clients and staff reconnect, activate and engage with the energy centers in the body. Through breath, meditation, yoga, and mindful awareness of the chakra system, we will take the time to notice and activate our mind-body connection through our subtle energy fields.

 

Information Vs. Experience

One of the great gifts in this approach to our work at Barn Life is the opportunity to come out of old patterns, habits, trauma and compulsions without having to speak directly to them. While talk therapy is an important part of our work, in the end, an honest experience of our sensory-selves is where the ultimate changes take place. For example, if we share a difficult pattern or a painful memory in therapy but do not take the time to feel it in the body, experience movement or adequately express the energy that the topic brings, we may not move through the energy and the information remains simply that. Information.

 

The Chakras

So what are the chakras? Imagine your spinal column as a carrier of all nerve signals that connect to the entire body. From the base of the spine to the very top vertebrae, we have an organized network that leads to the brain. The chakras are discovered through sensory awareness as clusters or centers of high sensitivity or connectivity between the neural and the mental realities. In the same way the body has organs, the chakras can be understood as the organs of the energy field. When activated, one is conscious in the body and the energy field. In each particular chakra, there are observable traits and characteristics that correspond. If, for example somewhere were to activate their root chakra, one would experience a closeness to the body, a more grounded and calm overall temperament, and a sense of safety and present awareness.

The Root Chakra

The root chakra, or Muladhara in Sanskrit, is found at the base of the spinal column. This energy center, when closed or inactive can cause one to feel out of touch with the present moment. Without an open and active root, one is ‘unrooted.’ We are without grounding. We are also often out of touch or disconnected from the here-and-now. When we work to activate and experience the root chakra, we can begin to bring better balance to the spectrum

In terms of energetics, this chakra channels earth energy upward through the feet and legs to process and stabilize it. It then moves the energy up the spine, now transmuted into a form that the body recognizes as signals to balance the endocrine system through the release of hormones. If the flow is cut off, symptoms occur that are also psychological. For example, if the root chakra is inactive, we do not then feel our feet or sense our existence in the body to be a strong component of reality. Instead, the mind wanders, the moment is overtaken, and the experience unbalanced.

 

Opening the Root Chakra

How do we then open the root chakra? Through conscious breathing deep into the energy center, reiki, and yoga postures. Even the turning of awareness to the lower body can help. We will practice during our groups this week and learn to remain open and grounded. For now, you may try simply unclenching the lower body, simply noticing the sensation in your feet. For those of you overachievers, you might try a root chakra meditation on YouTube. The bones are the nearest and most dense part of our existence. This is earth, this is underneath all else. If our nervous system and our musculature store the stuff we, well, stuff, then starting with the bones, feeling the present moment as it is in the physical and concrete, or in our case, calcium, we may begin to move upward through the spine bridging the divide between body and mind.