It's one of the yoga “rites of passage,” isn't it? Being invited to “ground down through the sit bones or the soles of the feet.” It's also one of the much desired results of practicing yoga—“becoming more grounded.” We've all heard it, we've all done it and I'm pretty sure at some point we've all had that question running around in our heads...
“What IS Grounding??”
Most of us spend the better part of our lives in our heads, thinking rather than being. We put so much of our energy into planning, rationalizing, judging, worrying and regretting that we often lose touch with ourselves and the fact that we are a part of something so much bigger than...Facebook.
I see and experience it everyday, which is why I usually spend the first five (or more) minutes of every yoga class guiding students through the process of coming back down to earth...and getting grounded, inviting them to let go of all that stuff going on in their heads and actually feel their bodies.
Grounding connects us to the present moment. It pulls us into our physical experience of right now, and in the process, creates a sense of ease in the mind and stability in the body. Grounding creates calm, destroys stress, and reminds us of who we are by diverting our attention from thinking and making us feel at home in our own bodies... (love that!).
The process of grounding is an invitation to trust that we are and will be supported. It's a reminder of our deep connection to the earth beneath us, and the power it has to affect the way we think, feel and express ourselves.
How to get there
“The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.”
The gorgeous thing about grounding is that there are SO many ways to do it. The key is finding what works best for you so that you can return to it when you need it most... like on those days when nothing seems to be going right or those times when you're SO busy you can barely remember your own name!
Here are a few suggestions for some simple (and fun) ways to “gain your ground”... so to speak!
1. Get a little dirt under your nails.
One of the best ways to ground yourself...is to get closer to the ground! Take off your shoes and walk barefoot through the sand, soil, or grass. Do a little gardening and put your hands into dirt. Remove some of what physically separates you from the world around you. Throw out the spoons and toss a salad or make a pie with your hands. Get rid of the towel or blanket and sit or lie down right on the sand or grass!
2. Do a little yoga
This one is probably no big surprise. Yoga asana is a terrific way of getting (and staying) grounded. Its focus on the body and the breath is a surefire formula for present moment awareness. And every yoga pose can be practiced in a way that's grounding, but some make it a little easier than others. Try these:
- Tadasana (Mountain pose)
- Marjaryasana/Bitilasana (Cat/Cow)
- Utkatasana (chair pose)
- Utkata Konasana (Goddess Pose)
You can ground yourself in ANY yoga pose by:
- Spreading your fingers wide when your hands are on the ground (as in Downward dog, cat/cow or any arm balanced), and directing pressure and energy through the center of your palms down into the earth.
- When standing, become aware of the entire surface of the soles of the feet. Direct pressure and energy down through the ball of the foot, the center of the heel and the pinky toe mound.
- Bending the knees slightly in all poses you to allow your muscles to hold you and to feel your weight and connection to the earth.
3. Try some grounded eats
According to Ayurveda, grounding foods are those with a predominance of earth and water elements, as well as moist or heavy qualities. Root, sweet or watery vegetables, meats, grains, dairy, healthy fats and sweet, juicy fruits, served fresh, warm and in moderate portions can calm the senses and sooth the mind and body (did somebody say comfort food!).
Or why not ry any one of these other great options for feeling calm and connected:
- Give someone a hug
- Practice Pranayama – Alternate Nostril Breathing, 3-part yogic breath
- Take up Tai Chi or Qui gong
- Spend time in Nature – Hiking, swimming, walking, etc.
- Hang out with grounded people
When Is the best time to do it?
All the time - Grounding as a practice is one of the best ways to become a more grounded person. Creating a habit of renewing your connection to yourself and the natural world around you is a powerful way to ensure your ability to cope when you feel anxious, overwhelmed, confused or disconnected.
Right now - According to Ayurveda, autumn is a time of year associated with vata energy. Governed by the air and space elements, vata energy is light, dry, cold and moving, and its prevalence this time of year often results in vata imbalances like anxiety, restlessness, forgetfulness, dryness, constipation, insomnia, headaches, and lack of energy. So fall is a particularly good time to enjoy grounding foods and activities and introduce daily routines to add a little steadiness to your schedule and your mind.
So what's YOUR favorite way to get grounded? When do you find you need it the most? Enlighten and inspire us by sharing in the comments below!