Of the seven psychic centers or chakras in the body, the muladhara chakra is the foundational one and is the spot where the Kundalini energy resides unawake. This energy lies coiled, akin to a serpent, at the muladhara, and when awakened through pranayam and meditation, it rises upward, piercing the seven chakras, namely muladhara, svadhisthan, manipur, anahat, vishuddha, agna, and sahasrara.
The process of awakening Kundalini begins by paying attention to the muladhara chakra. The physical location of this chakra is the base of the spine, the sacral plexus. The word muladhara is a compound word made up of the following two words – mula = root and adhara = foundation. Muladhara is thus the root or basic foundation from which all our physical experiences are derived.
It is the chakra that once awakened enables us to rise above our animal instincts and harness the positive energy within us. Awakening this chakra gives yogic practitioners the confidence to move to higher chakras, the experiences gained in mastering the muladhara calm us as we journey to the sahasrara.
The muladhara is where the impressions of past lives reside. The chakra is a repository of the imprints of all our actions. Actions whose fruit, bitter or sweet, we will have to taste, either in this life or next. In this sense, unlocking this chakra exposes us to our karma and gives us a sense of direction to right the wrongs of past lives.
Yogis pay special attention to activating this chakra because it is also the meeting point of the three subtle channels or nadis - Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. Our life force flows through these nadis. They congregate at the chakras. And an awakened chakra has a multiplicatory effect on how tuned we are to the flow of consciousness through these channels.
Practitioners who succeed in unlocking this chakra are often astounded by learning facets about their personality; these can include a tremendous capacity to love or sometimes a quick temper. But such exposure to what may be construed as baser qualities is necessary to rise above such qualities.
The ultimate objective is freedom from the cycle of life and birth, and such freedom can only be attained by confronting the truth. Such confrontations with suppressed attributes that are unleashed upon the awakening of this chakra lead to a cleansing of past karma and the development of character and will to subjugate these negative energies from ever rising again.
Once the muladhara has been truly mastered, the practitioner experiences heightening of sensory perceptions. He or she will see, smell, or hear things that others won’t. Clairaudience and clairvoyant capabilities are achieved.
There are a number of yogic practices and asanas prescribed for activating the energy of this chakra. These include the Mool Bandh, basically perineal contraction, practiced after breath has been exhaled. This lock is central to several yogic practices and stimulates the upward rise of spiritual energy. Even beginners will experience that meditating on a mantra becomes easier with the practice of this bandh.
The Warrior Pose and Bridge Pose are two yoga asanas that are associated with the development of this chakra.