In Eastern tradition, chakras are the whirling centers of our invisible but essential life force, also known as prana. Depending on the tradition, whether it be Hindu, Buddhist, or Tantric, there are as many as eight chakras in the human “subtle” body that shape our experience in the physical world and our ascendancy into the next. In Western traditions, chakras are used in the service of aromatherapy, crystal and sound therapy, and are essential to Reiki and Acupuncture practice. The chakras in all of these disciplines are the absolute building blocks of psychic and physical health: all must come to maturity and all must achieve balance in their own function.
The root chakra, located at the base of the spine, is the “lynchpin” of the physical body. It governs the skeleton and muscular systems, so it is no wonder that it is symbolized by the elephant, the most powerful land animal on our planet. The root is our basic life impulse, our need to survive and claim “self” on the physical plain. When the root is healthy, we trust our place on this earth, our abilities to be safe and secure in our bodies, and our libidos function effortlessly. When the root is acting inharmoniously, we tend to be fragile and depleted and our adrenals are tapped. In this day and age when things move so quickly, when people are sleep and touch-deprived, it is important to remember the elephant who brings us back to the core truth of basic human needs: healthy food, rest, and love.