Grounding Into Your Roots

In the Yoga Book Club at Yoga Art Space, we are currently reading the book Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith. This is a very educational book which thoroughly discusses all aspects of each of the 7 major chakras in the body including what can damage them and what makes them heal. The chakras are energy centers in the body which form at certain times of our life as we mature. Each chakra represents different lessons of our life from how we communicate (Throat Chakra) to how we exert or hide our personal power (Solar Plexus Chakra).

During one particular week, we were discussing the first chakra, the Root Chakra. This chakra develops from the 2nd trimester to the age of 12 months and its main demon is fear. It has to do with the issues of grounding, roots, nourishment, trust, health, home, family, prosperity, and appropriate boundaries. It tends to orient toward self protection and the basic rights of this chakra are the right to be here (to exist, to have a body and to live) as well as the right to have (a physical body, to have needs met, et cetera). When these basic human rights aren't met, the child's roots don't sink downward into the earth to receive nourishment. Instead, as the person grows, he tends to have deficient lower chakras (grounding), and excessive upper chakras leading him to become overly intellectual and disconnected from his body.

The entertaining yet thought provoking TED talk "Do Schools Kill Creativity?" by Ken Robinson makes me think that this phenomenon of becoming overly in our head is a cultural problem which is disconnecting us from the roots of manifestation in our lives. In this talk, Robinson makes the following point:

"If you were to visit education, as an alien, and say "What's it for, public education?" I think you'd have to conclude, if you look at the output, who really succeeds by this, who does everything that they should,who gets all the brownie points, who are the winners — I think you'd have to conclude the whole purpose of public education throughout the world is to produce university professors. Isn't it? They're the people who come out the top. And I used to be one, so there."

He continues this description by explaining what he has seen in his career:

"And I like university professors, but you know, we shouldn't hold them up as the high-water mark of all human achievement. They're just a form of life, another form of life. But they're rather curious, and I say this out of affection for them. There's something curious about professors in my experience — not all of them, but typically, they live in their heads. They live up there, and slightly to one side. They're disembodied, you know, in a kind of literal way. They look upon their body as a form of transport for their heads... Don't they? It's a way of getting their head to meetings."

Until it was stated for me so obviously, I didn't really recognize it. In my own life, my journey through high school and college was all about proving how smart and diligent I was. It was about how many AP and dual enrollment classes I took, how well I did on exams, how late I stayed up to finish my homework, and what I got as my overall grade. I do believe that I am smart and I do love learning (I will definitely be a lifelong learner), but my whole life up until that point was about trying to do well in playing someone else's game of success.

In this culture and in this world, I believe everyone will benefit by becoming more grounded in their own bodies (and depending on who you are, perhaps getting a little mor