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Grounding – Bringing yourself down to earth

Do you ever arrive home and realise you’ve got absolutely no idea how you got there? Yes? Well, that’s what it often feels like when we are feeling ungrounded. We’re engrossed in our thoughts, dreams and fantasies, disconnected from our bodies and our environment. In this state, we may feel a bit ‘spacey’, fidgety, anxious, nervous, frustrated or short tempered, perhaps with a scattered attention. And in this space, we may well be likely to blow things out of proportion as our energy is not being contained within our physical body, it’s focused upwards into our minds and outwards into the ether.

On the other hand, when we are feeling grounded we are in the here and now, in the present. We won’t be thinking of what we need to do or what’s happened in the past. We’ll be feeling more stable, supported, secure and in control, fully conscious of what’s going on around us, where we are in relation to our environment and aware of the sensations within our own bodies, ready to tackle whatever life throws at us – essential in today’s fast paced, challenging world.

In fact, for many of us, being grounded is very difficult to maintain as our mind is always seesawing from the future with its ‘what ifs’ to the past with its should have, could have, would have … and all the regrets, analysis and blame that entails.

And it can be especially difficult in Autumn or if you’re suffering from a Vata Dosha imbalance. If you read my previous blog about women’s wellness in Autumn, you’ll know that Autumn is a Vata season characterised by being cool, light, dry, windy and unpredictable. And it’s this light, windy and unpredictable nature that can make us feel out of sorts, and anything but grounded. And if your prakriti or Ayurvedic constitution is primarily Vata, the effects of the seasonal Vata changes can be even more profound, and you’ll have a propensity to feel even more ungrounded.

So, how do you become more grounded more of the time and why does it matter?

Feeling grounded is very important to us both physically and psychologically. When we find a connection to the ground and Earth, we are connecting to something that is much bigger than ourselves alone. When we’re feeling grounded and connected to the Earth, we can remember that we’re not alone, but that we’re part of a bigger community and part of a whole, the larger planet Earth. Our problems seem much smaller when we can connect to this understanding both through our bodies and through our awareness.

It’s all about connecting to what is beneath us through our feet or seat or when lying on our backs, resting down into gravity allowing ourselves to yield into it, to rest down into it, so that that pull of gravity can help support and hold us. Bringing our awareness into the body and the ground helps to lower our energy from our head and shoulders to encompass our whole body in a more balanced way, being aware of where we are, what we’re doing, the space we are in and the energy we are giving off and helping us to stay connected to ourselves to maintain or regain our power, focus, control and direction. This will be a balancing act that will to and fro all the time… but we can keep connecting to the ground, our surroundings and our breath to help us stay connected and aware.

When we do this, we will be more aware of our legs and feet, our seat and perhaps feel warmer or experience slight tingling sensations, and feel more connected to the Earth. Notice what manifests for you as you play with this more each day.

But, how do you do this?

Being out in nature – by the sea or in woodland or the mountains – can help you to become grounded, and practicing grounding asanas outside can be especially effective.

If you have a chance, just take a walk out in nature, where there’s less architecture between you and the Earth. Treat your nature deficit disorder with some mud.

You may want to try standing or balancing poses and slow fluid sequences. Yin Yoga is particularly useful for grounding, as is a slow dreamy Restorative practice. Try to avoid fast paced Yoga and practices with no time to explore the poses or the depth of the poses and the breath like some of the more fitness orientated Yoga styles – this may end up leaving you more unbalanced. Explore and see what works for you, perhaps combine the two for a more Yin and Yang effect.

Grounding poses you may like to try include:

Easy Seated pose (Sukhasana) – Sit evenly on both sitting bones and place one hand on the ground and the other on your heart space. Breathe into the pose and bring your awareness to your physical connection with the ground, let your back soften too. Often we think that when we are upright we have to be really straight, soften into it a little and let your back body open up.

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) – As a root chakra stimulating pose, just a couple of minutes holding Warrior II can be very effective in moving erratic mind energy downwards. And for enhanced grounding in the pose, perhaps close your eyes and visualise a beam of light or a grounding cord running right through you and down to the Earth’s core – notice its colour shape and width.

Triangle pose (Trikonasana) – Another root chakra stimulating pose, Triangle pose works really well when practiced with Warrior II and working with the breath, inhaling up through the soles of your feet to the crown of your head and exhaling back down into the ground. You could add some fluid movement between the two to ease out the hips, perhaps adding some circles or spirals to add some feminine, less linear qualities to the practice.

Mountain pose (Tadasana) – You could try this standing barefoot outside on grass, mud or sand, quieten your mind and simply bring your awareness to the pose and to your feet. With your body weight stacked over your feet, having a hand on your heart and belly can also give insights into how you hold yourself – forward leaning, back leaning… Many lessons can be learnt in this pose. It is the Savasana of standing poses.

Tree pose (Vrksasana) – Visualise yourself as a tree with its roots growing downwards from your pelvis and hips through your legs deep into the earth. Think of roots from the balls of your feet moving under the Earth to your heels and from your heels moving under the Earth to the balls. Try being a willow tree that moves in the wind, moving your arms and legs as you stay rooted with your supporting leg.

“Like a tree you have to find your roots and then you can bend in the wind.” – Angela Farmer.

If time is short, simply getting up and moving your body can help you to become more grounded.

If you spend your day sitting at a desk, why not try walking meetings with your colleagues? As well as helping you to regain your grounded state and unlocking your pelvis, you’ll feel more focused, alert and energised, improving your productivity for the rest of the day. But if that’s not possible maybe add some movement in when you get home. One of the worst things you can do when you get home at the end of the day if you have been sitting all day is to then add more sitting into the mix. Get up and move – dance, walk, run, practice Yoga, anything to remind you that you have a physical body. Your body and mind will thank you for it. Sitting is a silent killer!

A lovely way to feel more grounded at the end of a busy day is to take a warm bath, adding some Epsom salts or magnesium flakes to the water. Imagine the negative energy of the day and other people’s problems washing off your body and as you pull out the plug visualise it all flowing away down the drain.

Simply concentrating on your breathing can also be very grounding.

Perhaps in Mountain pose, practice inhaling deeper and deeper inside your body, bringing your awareness to the movement of your chest, diaphragm and belly and visualising your breath travelling down your body, through your pelvis, hips, legs and feet. And then feel your breath as it moves out again and back in. Remember, wherever your breath goes, your energy follows; where your attention goes your energy goes.

Quite often when we breathe, we pay attention to our inhale and relax more as we breathe out. But this strong inhale can create anxious, fear-induced breathing – think of a gasp of shock or surprise. Instead, try to focus on your out-breath, breathing out further than normal – a bit like a sigh and perhaps saying ‘haaaa’ as you do it – and then relax and watch your breath flow back in again effortlessly. Or count the breath in and out equally – in for up to 6, out for up to 6; if six is a stretch for you then do for 4 or less and then work to extend it.

If you’re short of time and need to check in with yourself, a simple three minute breathing space meditation can be very useful – and if you’re at work, your colleagues won’t even know you’re meditating. Headspace and other similar apps could support you in this too.

Or if you’ve got a bit more time, take a moment to pause and sit in stillness, being present wherever you are. If you can get outside even better. You could try Easy Seated pose, maybe on the grass under a tree, and just let yourself be. Listening to the sounds that are around you, what do you hear? Are there any smells? What can you taste in your mouth? What can you see? What can you feel inside and out? Focus on your breath and let your thoughts pass through your head like the clouds in the sky, acknowledging their presence but just letting them go without paying them any attention. You could create a mantra to help with this: “How human of me to think this”, which will help you acknowledge and release.

Being grounded and maintaining that state is not the easiest thing to achieve, but keep practicing. It will be worth it, I promise. When we feel more grounded we feel more balanced and aligned and that inner dialogue in our head becomes quieter, helping us to become more focused and gain mental clarity. When we are grounded and connected we are where it really matters – here, now, present – connected with the Earth and ourselves and able to gain a realisation of our unique purpose for being here. Grounding really does help bring out the best in us by encouraging the connection to gravity and the ground beneath us and Earth around us. We experience more of ourselves in our own bodies. We can let go of negative energy and stress deep into the ground and then receive an inwards flow of inspiration, creativity, hope and purpose from everything that is around us.

Let me know how you get on and which practices help you the most. If you would like some one to one support with grounding or any other concerns get in touch.

I specialise in working with women one to one and enjoy being part of their journey of reconnection and self-discovery. I support women to find more balance and harmony in their lives by deepening their inner connection to their own body’s needs, helping them cope pre-conception, with fertility issues, prenatally, postnatally or during times of transition, grief or loss and helping alleviate the symptoms of menstruation, perimenopause or menopause. If you feel that you would benefit from some nurturing allwoman support, please get in touch.

Lara Heppell

About Lara Heppell

I use the incredible healing, calming, strengthening and restorative power of yoga to help you find the balance you need, no matter what stage of life you’re at. I couple this with Mizan massage, belly binding, birth preparation and doula services to support you as needed.

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