(This is the first of a seven part series)
If you do yoga, enjoy aromatherapy, have attended a meditation class, or explored new age spirituality, you have probably heard the term “chakra” before. Chakras are believed to be energy focus points in the body. The chakra system comes from India, where it originated a very long time ago, and is part of the traditional Indian medicine system called Ayurveda. The chakras started off as an Eastern philosophy until the new age movement, where the philosophy became more widespread.
What is a chakra anyway?
The word chakra comes from the Sanskrit language and it means wheel. You can’t see a chakra with your physical eyes, but the ancients described them as spinning wheels, or as spirals of energy or light. There are seven main chakras, located along the spine in areas where there are major glands and nerve ganglia. Chakras are not physical, but are imaginary points to focus on when meditating. They are considered to be the energy centers of the body.
What does tea have to do with chakras?
Teas of all kinds have an effect on our physical and psychological wellbeing. Some teas are energizing (green tea, rosemary, ginger), other teas are calming (chamomile, passionflower, lavender.) Some of them move energy downward in the body (like laxatives) and others move energy outward (like cayenne). Combining the effects of particular teas with the energy of the chakras can provide amazing body-mind-spirit benefits, and healing on multiple levels.
We will start this series at the bottom, with the first chakra, and work our way up. The first chakra is also called the base chakra, the root chakra, and in the Sanskrit language it’s known as Muladhara. It is located at the base of the spine, at the very bottom of the pelvic floor. All of the chakras are associated with certain glands and body functions, and this one correlates to the adrenals and gonads. The first chakra is associated with the earth, and with the colors red and black.
The qualities that correspond to the first chakra include:
- Connection to the community
A person with an open, healthy first chakra is grounded, secure, and has stability in their relationships with others.
When the first chakra is lacking energy, it can manifest as:
- Fear of poverty, or actual poverty
- Feeling spacey, unreal, all in your head
- Lack of focus, drive
- An inability to take care of practical matters
- Low energy and vitality
On the flip side, if a person’s energy is stuck in the first chakra, they might have a dog-eat-dog mentality, be miserly, fear things that are new or unfamiliar, and be territorial.
Plants to the rescue
Fortunately, the incredible world of herbs and teas can help get things moving again. When you drink teas or add herbs to your smoothies, you gain both the health benefits as well as a boost to the emotions and spirit.
Here are the best herbs and teas to help energize and nourish the first chakra. (Note regarding caffeine: if you tend to have anxiety or feel spacey, caffeine can make this worse. But if your energy is dragging, caffeine will give you a boost.)
He shou wu is a dark, rich, Chinese tonic herb that fortifies the adrenals, builds the blood, and helps regain youthfulness and energy.
Kava kava is a medicinal root from the South Pacific that grounds and relaxes the body, while your mind stays clear and lucid.
Nettles is a dark green herb that fortifies the kidneys and adrenals, and provides a bevy of nutrients that help you feel energized without the caffeine.
Jiao gu lan is another Chinese tonic herb that is similar to ginseng. It protects the body from stress, and helps fight the diseases associated with aging and stress.
Puehr is a fermented tea that is soothing and fortifying. It contains some caffeine, but in lower amounts than green or black tea.
Best tea blends for the first chakra are:
- Anxiety Relief, which contains kava kava and can help you feel grounded when your energy is spinning out
- Coffee Quitter is a blend of puehr, with grounding chaga and dandelion root, to help you feel energized and boost your immune system
- Ginseng Green Dragon is energizing and strengthening, and is also good for the mind
- Smooth Jazz is a caffeine-free coffee substitute that is grounding, smooth, and nourishing
First chakra tea meditation
Brew a cup of any of the teas listed above. Smell the aroma, sip and savor the flavor, and imagine the energy from the tea permeating throughout your body when you swallow. After a few sips, close your eyes, and breathe slowly a few times. Sit with your spine straight and picture a glowing circle of light at the base of your spine. Using your imagination, look at the circle of light. Is it small or large? Steady, pulsating or barely flickering? Dull or clear? If the light is small, use your imagination to grow it to a size that feels perfect to you. If it’s dull or dusty, weak or strong, use the power of your mind to adjust it to the perfect radiance and strength. If it needs more energy, imagine the energy from the tea adding strength to it. If it seems like there is too much energy, allow some of it to drain into the earth until it seems perfect for you. When you feel like you’re done, take a few more slow breaths, wiggle your toes, stretch your limbs, and open your eyes. In a journal, jot down your experiences.
Pure essential oils can provide an instant boost to the mood, and really help with meditations on the chakras. The essential oils and blends associated with the first chakra are patchouli and vetiver. If you are experiencing money issues, Money Magnet oil smells amazing, and is instantly grounding. Dab a little on your palms and inhale deeply. You can rub this into the soles of your feet to connect you to the earth.
An essential oil meditation for anxiety:
Inhale the oils, breathe slowly and quietly, and bring your focus to the base of your spine and the bottoms of your feet.
Have you done any chakra meditations before? We would love to hear about your experiences!