The Root Chakra

The Chakra Chapters: The Root Chakra

Whether well into your spiritual journey or starting out, you have likely heard of the root chakra, or chakras more broadly, thanks to popular culture. Whilst mainstream media may use ‘chakra’ as a throwaway term, according to ancient Indian teachings, keeping your chakras in balance is vital for your overall mental, physical and spiritual well-being. 

First mentioned in the sacred Vedas texts, the word chakra means wheel in Sanskrit. It is believed that these spinning energy points reside throughout your body and connect to your energy, major organs and nerves. They need to stay open and aligned to remain in balance. 

Although Indian spiritual master, Sri Amit Ray, identified 114 different chakras within the body, the main chakras most commonly worked with are the seven that run along the spine. Each chakra has a corresponding number, name, colour, specific area and health focus. 

In this series I am calling The Chakra Chapters, I will be doing a deep dive into each of the seven main chakras sharing what they are, how to recognise blockages and how to bring each chakra back into alignment. We’ll work from the bottom up, so today, we’re exploring the root chakra.

What is the root chakra?

The root is the very first chakra, located at the base of the spine near the tailbone. It is also known as Muladhara, with Mula meaning ‘root’ and Adhara meaning ‘support’ or ‘base.’ This chakra is represented by the colour red and the earth element since it is linked to our ability to feel stable, secure and grounded in life. 

Since the first chakra is at the base of the spine, you can think of it as your foundation. Like a tree, you need to firmly plant your roots into good soil so you can grow tall and stand strong – no matter what the winds of life throw at you. Practically, this means ensuring your basic needs are met. You are more likely to feel secure and grounded with access to food, water, shelter and safety. 

The same goes for feeling emotionally stable, too – when energy flows freely through your root wheel, you feel comfortable in yourself, your familial relationships and your home. You will carry a deep sense of grounding within yourself, which translates into the world around you. When you move through life with a balanced root chakra, you create a solid foundation for opening the chakras above (which we’ll cover in future blogs). 

Root chakra blockages?

If an open root chakra helps you feel grounded, then a blocked root chakra makes you feel insecure. An imbalance in the first chakra can manifest itself in a few different ways. Physically you may experience arthritis, constipation, lower back pain, colon issues or bladder problems. If your basic needs aren’t met, emotionally, you may feel anxious, insecure and fearful. You may also experience stressful nightmares. Worries related to safety and stability may pop into your mind, such as finances, familial relationships, job security and stresses around the home. Root chakra imbalance is an uncomfortable sense of feeling unrooted or uprooted. 

If you suspect that your root chakra is blocked, take a moment to assess how your body and mind feel by asking yourself: Do I feel calm? Where do I feel grounded? What is my relationship with myself and the world around me?

Meditating on the beach

How to balance the root chakra

Just as there are many ways an imbalance in the root chakra can present itself, there are also several methods to bring your chakra back into alignment. Everyone is unique, and what works for one person may not work for you. So, look at the few options below and try what resonates with you most. 

1. Meditation 

We all know the power of meditation to bring us back to ourselves and our roots. Simply sitting on the floor in a comfortable cross-legged position is incredibly grounding as we physically connect the base of our spines to the ground. Also, taking the time to go inward creates a space where we can trust ourselves to listen to our inner intuition. Believing that the universe will provide all you need to feel safe is a great comfort.

2. Chanting 

To help myself feel more connected to my first chakra, I like to chant the Lam bija mantra. The one-syllable sound’s vibration is believed to activate the root chakra and help release any blockages. It opens you up to prosperity, grounding, security and a feeling of belonging. I like to visualise a red light emanating from the base of my spine while chanting for a full-body experience. 

3. Connecting with nature 

Since the root chakra is associated with the element of earth, a fantastic way to correct an imbalance is to get out into nature. Walk through a meadow, forest or woodland barefoot to reconnect with mother nature and gain some perspective. We are all creatures of the earth, so taking things back to our roots (literally and figuratively) helps restore a sense of belonging. And, whilst you’re there, you can also hug a tree! 

If, like me, you don’t have a forest on your doorstep, try to connect with nature in any way you can. I have the sea nearby, so I like to paddle my feet and let the waves crash against me to feel grounded. 

4. Yoga 

Moving your body through a grounding yoga sequence is a fantastic way to bring your root chakra back into alignment. Concentrate on poses that cultivate a sense of grounding in your feet, legs and pelvic floor. Garland pose, or Malasana, is excellent for literally bringing you closer to the earth while opening your hips and strengthening your ankles. Other poses include Sukhasana (sitting cross-legged), Balasana (child’s pose), Uttanasana (standing forward fold) and Savasana (corpse pose). You can also try a technique called Mula Bandha to create stability in the lower body and control your energy flow. 

5. Reiki healing 

Hailing from Japan, reiki is a form of energy healing. Practitioners are trained to pick up on other people’s energy and can identify any chakra blockages. They use their hands to transfer universal energy from their palms to their patient to help rebalance chakras and encourage emotional and physical healing. Always check your practitioner is certified before committing! 

Pigeon Pose Yoga

I hope you can take something away from this blog to help you on your chakra healing journey. The root chakra truly is the foundation for forming a stable energetic epicentre! Up next in The Chakra Chapter series? The sacral chakra.

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Why Mindset Matters: Reframing Your Brain

Why Mindset Matters: Reframing Your Brain

We all have a set of beliefs about ourselves, our basic qualities and our abilities that shape our thoughts and habits. This is our mindset, and it is a powerful thing. Since it frames everything we encounter, our mindset is responsible for how we navigate the world – affecting how we think, how we feel and what we do. 

According to psychologist Carol Dweck, there are two types of mindsets. A fixed mindset and a growth mindset. She explains that someone with a fixed mindset believes their basic qualities are fixed, their talent level can never change and that this alone creates success or failure. They don’t believe in making any effort either way. Often, someone with a fixed mindset will find themselves thinking: “I am either good at something, or I never will be,” which is an incredibly limiting belief.

Someone with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believes they can build upon their basic abilities through dedication and hard work. They see their talents as a starting point to continue learning and growing, which is essential for success. A growth mindset is the key to unlocking your potential and meeting your higher self.

If you feel like you may be stuck in a fixed mindset, the good news is that you can develop a growth mindset through inner healing. 

Singing bowl and crystals

First, a visit to the dark side

Before shifting your mindset, you first need to acknowledge where you are right now. What is the little voice in your head saying? How is it talking to you? Is it full of negative self-talk? What thoughts and limiting beliefs are currently blocking you? 

Once you are honest with yourself and identify what thought patterns are keeping you in a fixed mindset. Once they’re identified it’s easier to release yourself from the negativity. My preferred way to achieve this is by starting with shadow work. We all have parts of ourselves buried, but unless we peer in and examine our darker sides, we won’t understand what actions we need to take to allow ourselves to grow. 

Shadow work is all about honouring how you actually feel. Instead of suppressing your emotions with fake positivity, it’s about digging deep, allowing whatever needs to come up to be present before emptying yourself of anything that no longer serves you. Once the space is clear, you can fill it with positivity, growth and light. This is how you can go from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

mindset journaling

Shadow work meditation

There are many ways you can approach shadow work release. I like to start by making my environment feel sacred and safe with a smoke cleanse, lighting candles and carefully choosing crystals to aid whatever healing I feel called to do. Once settled, I drop into meditation and breathwork. I imagine thick, black smoke leaving my nose with every exhalation and bright, white light entering with every inhalation. If you struggle to imagine this yourself, I highly recommend trying a guided meditation specifically targeting shadow work and creating a better mindset.

I pause the meditation once I feel empty of negativity and immediately start writing a gratitude list. Reframing your brain to focus on all you already have creates an abundance mindset that will naturally bring in more opportunities for growth. Plus, writing about things you’re grateful for will boost your mood! I also note what I would like to accomplish with a sense of detachment – this removes any emotional pressure that may creep in from a fixed mindset limiting beliefs. 

Sow the seeds for inner healing to allow yourself to grow

Many believe that growth is about pushing yourself beyond your limits to achieve more. However, I am not one to subscribe to the grind or hustle culture. Instead, I think true growth starts with inner healing, being honest with yourself and facing your shadows.

The meditation and journaling method I have outlined above are a great way to get started on your journey by removing any roadblocks that are in your way. If you focus on building a growth mindset first, the rest will follow.

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Vegan Books On My Reading Wish List

Vegan Books On My Reading Wish List

Forever a student, I want to continue learning and expanding my knowledge, so as an avid reader, I thought it was about time I expanded my list of vegan books to read. I am already a passionate vegan and bookworm, so I am excited to grow my personal library.

Many of the spiritual books I’ve read and the practices I follow promote kindness and compassion for others, and that includes all creatures. When embarking on my yoga teacher training I learned about the eight limbs of yoga as outlined in the Yoga Sutra – the theory and practice of yoga.

The first of the eight limbs is the Yamas, five restraints (social ethics) that when practised can lead to a deep self-awareness and inner peace. The first Yama often thought of as the most important is Ahimsa which means non-violence and respect for all living things. It entreats us to live in such a way that we cause no harm in our thought, speech or action to any living being, including ourselves. It is this practice that fuels my drive to be vegan and educate others on doing the same.

Here are some of the top non-fiction and fiction books about veganism on my “to read” pile.

Non-Fiction Vegan Books

Non fiction vegan books

How Not To Die by Michael Greger

Based on the latest scientific research, this book offers effective and scientifically-proven advice on why diet has such a huge impact on our overall health. It reveals how simple dietary changes can not only dramatically reduce our risk of falling ill, but they can even reverse the effects of disease.

As a former Food Science and Nutrition student, this book is something that really resonates with me and my belief that food can be medicine. I am excited to dive into How Not To Die to further my understanding so I can help myself and those around me live longer, healthier lives. 


Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer 

I’ve heard that Eating Animals is not an easy read. It pulls back the curtain on the factory farming industry to reveal the gut-wrenching truth about what it takes to put meat on the table. The book exposes the prices paid by the animals, Mother earth and people in developing countries to make eating meat more convenient, cheaper and quicker to produce. 

As a first-person account that’s written as an intellectual journey, I am interested to see how Jonathan Safran Foer presents his findings to convince his readers to go vegan. 


We Are The Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer 

Another book by Jonathan Safran Foer, We Are The Weather takes a different approach to promoting a vegan diet and lifestyle. In this book he looks at how a meat heavy diet directly contributes to the climate crisis, but that if everyone made a small change we could collectively save the planet. 

I like the idea of making veganism a collective action that we, as humans, need to prioritise in the name of the greater good. 


Once Upon A Time We Ate Animals by Roanne van Voorst 

Similar to the previous book in this list, Once Upon A Time We Ate Animals asks the important question: if we all know that eating meat is detrimental to the planet’s health, why do we keep eating it? It attempts to answer this question by going back through history to a time when humans didn’t exploit animals for food or products. By doing so, it helps us imagine a plant-based future without factory-farming. 

I imagine this book will be incredibly persuasive for those that may be on the fence about going vegan – which is why I am looking forward to reading it so I can recommend it to others and hopefully get them to shift their viewpoints. 

Fiction Vegan Books

fiction vegan books

PopCo by Scarlett Thomas

PopCo centres around protagonist Alice Butler, who has been receiving messages written in code. The novel follows Alice as she tries to crack the codes and in doing so she delves deeper into a world of family secrets, puzzles, profit-hungry corporations and the power of numbers. 

While Alice isn’t vegan at the beginning of the novel, she meets some along her journey and is curious to learn more. I’m intrigued to see how the protagonist develops and what role veganism plays in her overall character. 


The Humans by Matt Haig

I’ve had so many people recommend Matt Haig’s books to me because of how beautifully they are written, so I am glad to add The Humans to my library. This book follows an alien who is transported into the body of a university professor named Andrew as he explores this new world.  

Far from a sci-fi novel, the book is an interesting way of examining the strangeness of humanity from an outsider’s perspective. One part of the book sees the protagonist question why humans eat other animals – it’s raised as something the alien protagonist cannot understand. 


The Bees by Laline Paull 

I know some vegans that still consume honey, however what they’re forgetting is that bees are animals too with advanced societies. The Bees is written from the perspective of a lower class bee as she navigates life in the hive and draws attention to the devastating effects of harvesting honey. 

What I love about this book is how well researched it seems to be. I am sure I will come across many eye-opening chapters that reveal the true and extraordinary nature of bees.



If you have read any of these vegan books or have any other recommendations, I would love to hear them! You can message me on Instagram, TikTok or Facebook @bytanyamm x

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra

The Power Of Movement To Connect To Your Spiritual Self

When it comes to aligning to our spiritual selves, we cannot deny the power of movement. And yet, our bodies spend so much time being static. We sit eating our breakfast, during our commutes and at our desks, then come home to sit on the sofa in front of our TVs. Even when we do move, there’s a rigidity to it. We speed walk to catch the train, do repetitive workouts or mindlessly put one foot in front of the other on the treadmill. While this type of activity is good for our physical, cardiovascular and respiratory health, it rarely connects us to our spiritual selves. We train our bodies to see movement as a functional activity dictated by our logical thinking brain, not our spirit. 

Mindful movement, on the other hand, lets the feeling body take over. It’s about surrendering and finding movements that feel good. In turn, our thoughts stop racing as our minds calm down, and we can enter into a true state of mind-body connection. When we let go of how we think we should be moving, we release our ego. We make space to connect with our spiritual selves and move without judgement, trusting our bodies to take us where we need to go.

Here are some practices you can implement into your daily routine to tap into the power of movement and connect with your body, mind and spirit.

Yoga Sun Salutations

Practised for over 2,500 years, sun salutations are an ancient ritual that honours the sun and are an incredible way to set the tone for the rest of your day. A sun salutation, otherwise known in Sanskrit as Surya Namaskara A, is a set sequence of yoga postures (Asanas) that draws on the power of movement to force you to focus on your breath and naturally empty your mind.

Beginning and ending with Tadasana (mountain pose), the sun salutation sequence motions you through a rhythmic series of postures to stretch and strengthen the body whilst building internal heat. Each movement is initiated by the breath. As you inhale and exhale, you transition from one pose to the next, creating a cadence aligned with your own breath. If you’re unsure when to breathe, a good tip to remember in yoga is that you typically inhale when you lift or expand the body, then exhale as you lower, fold or release. The sequence is as follows:

Power of movement: yoga
power of movement: sun salutation

Repeat on the other side to complete the cycle. You can repeat the whole sequence as many times as you like, though three to five repetitions is a good amount to start.

As you journey through the sequence, you’ll find that your body moves through a cyclical arc. The powerful movements become a predictable flow of looping motions. When you reach this stage, the practice becomes a moving meditation.

At first, you may find it difficult to transition from one Asana to the next in a single breath. You may find you hold your breath or speed through the movements to compensate. I urge you to try not to rush! Instead, intentionally slow down your breath and, with time and practice, you will train your breath to lengthen and be able to slow down your movements, too. There’s also no rule to say that you can’t remain in a pose for longer if you find a particularly good stretch. Settle into it, listen to your body and move with intention when you’re ready to transition into the next posture.

Qigong movement


I recently had my first experience with Qigong (pronounced chee gong) and enjoyed it so much that I knew I had to include it in this post. Hailing from ancient Chinese wisdom, Qigong first developed thousands of years ago as part of traditional Chinese medicine. At its core, it is the study and practice of using the power of movement to cultivate energy within the body, mind and spirit – known in traditional Chinese medicine as Qi.

Qi courses through our entire being, so it needs to flow freely like a river. If there are any blockages, just like with a river dam, Qi becomes stagnant, and the rest of the river bed dries up. However, rapidly flowing Qi can also cause issues as the fast pace can lead to internal exhaustion – think of the destruction of the river bank or erosion of surrounding rocks. The aim of practising Qigong is to reach equilibrium. A state where your Qi is balanced, free-flowing and steady.

Qigong is both a physical and psychological practice that combines breathing techniques, postures, meditations and guided visualisations. Beginner teachings start with physical movement coordinated with breathing exercises. It requires some discipline as teachers will not move on to the next step until each movement or posture is learned.

Once the form is perfected, it’s time to find the subtle flow of Qi within the postures, movements, breathing patterns and transitions. This is known as the dynamic Qigong technique and is part of the moving meditation. Like yoga, some postures are held for a long time to help strengthen the body and joints whilst increasing energy flow. This is known as meditative Qigong and is part of still meditation. Many people struggle to sit and meditate, so I find that this traditional practice is a great alternative with the same spiritual benefits.

Ecstatic Dance

A term revived by dancer and musician Gabrielle Roth back in the 1970s, ecstatic dance is exactly what it sounds like. It’s dancing without inhibition to connect with your emotional being and enter a state of ecstasy.

Roth devised a dance format called 5Rhythms that draws on indigenous, shamanistic, mystical and eastern philosophy. She identified five specific rhythms of trance music that linked to five specific emotions that, when stitched together, created a transformational flowing wave for dancers to ride. There are no moves to learn, there are no steps to master, instead, it’s all about listening to the music, allowing the power of movement to take over and surrendering so your body can respond how it needs to.

The five rhythms follow the same order, starting with Flowing – which connects dancers to their own fear, then Staccato – which connects them to anger, Chaos to sadness, Lyrical to joy and, finally, Stillness to compassion.

According to Roth, the rhythms are a map of everywhere we want to go across all planes of consciousness. This includes looking inwards to our deeper selves, outwards to our external worlds, backwards to our past traumas and forwards to our fears for the future. It connects us to ourselves on the physical, emotional and intellectual levels – all the while trusting our bodies to take us where we need to go.

Similarly, traditional Shamanism dance uses drumming, rhythm and ecstatic dance to alter consciousness and connect us to a higher power. While losing yourself to a drumbeat may sound like a simple process, it requires you to fully let go and surrender, which is harder than it sounds. Only by trusting yourself will you be able to drop in deep and move beyond self-imposed limiting beliefs, isolation and fear.

It is a transformative practice that’s best done in a group of like-minded people so you can open yourself up to their connection. However, if that sounds too daunting, then go solo. There are plenty of 5Rhythm playlists available catering to different music tastes, which you can find online. Or, if there’s a particular song you already know unlocks the power of movement and connects to your spiritual self, then turn it up loud and get moving.


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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra