For most of 2018, the practice and intention I offered in my classes was one of grounding down. In large part, I focused on “grounding down” so frequently because that’s the practice I needed. As a new yoga teacher with a new class and a new business, I needed to ground down into myself! All that newness was exciting AND unstable. I needed to cultivate a sense of stability and self-trust in myself and my practice. I grounded down so I could manage my own growth. I grounded down so I could manage all the changes – changes I wanted and changes I didn’t want. It’s a regular practice of grounding and re-grounding back into myself. I use those roots to support myself as I grow - as I continue to teach, expand my offerings, and meet more people through my yoga and movement practices.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re working on (personally or professionally, individually or in community) things around you are changing, the way you relate to familiar things may be shifting, even the changes you’ve worked for can feel uncomfortable at first. I’d like to offer a grounding practice to support yourself through the fluctuations of your day-to-day, as well as those larger, hard-earned changes.
So first, what does that mean – grounding down?
Most practically, grounding down is about cultivating awareness of your body and the way it relates to, and makes contact with, the space around you. As a mindfulness practice, grounding down is about forming a connection between your mental/emotional being and your body. In this way your physical body, as it exists in space, can be your support through all of life’s changes and fluctuations. Grounding down is also about coming back to yourself – you’re still here, you’re still breathing, and you can feel your feet on the floor as you stand, or the cushion of the chair as you sit, or the support of your bed as you lay down. You are still here <3
How do you “ground down”?
There are three main elements to a grounding practice: (1) focus on your breath, (2) press through your feet or seat, and (3) lift through the top of your head. Use all three together, one on its own, or mix and match – it’s important your grounding practice works for you, in whatever time and space you have to use it.
(1) Focus on your breath
Maybe close the eyes or look softly out in front of you. Notice the quality of your breath – is it long or short, deep or shallow? How does it sound? Is it loud or quiet? Where in your body do you feel your breath? As you breathe in and out through your nose, maybe you feel the breath against the top of your lip. Maybe the tip of your nose and the back of your throat. You feel your chest lift and your belly fill as you breathe in. As you breathe out, your chest lowers back down and you belly empties out. Breathe at a comfortable pace.
(2) Press through your feet or your seat
Any comfortable posture works here, whether you are standing, sitting, or laying down. Take note of the parts of your body that are being supported. If you’re standing up, this is your feet being supported by the floor. If you’re sitting down, this could be your hips, legs, back and arms supported by the chair, as well as your feet on the floor. If you’re laying down this could be your whole back body pressing into the bed or floor. Make conscious contact with the floor, or seat. With each exhale, imagine sending little roots down into the chair, or down into the floor. With each inhale notice a little more stability in your body.
(3) Lifting through the top of your head
On an inhale, press the top of your head up towards the ceiling, as if you could get a little bit taller. On the exhale relax your shoulders as you re-ground, through your roots, into the chair or floor. Continue breathing in this way for several rounds – reaching up on the inhale and re-grounding on the exhale. If you’re laying down, imagine pressing the top of your head towards the wall behind you, instead of up towards the ceiling. You might imagine yourself growing into the space around you.
Your grounding practice can be as short as three breaths, a few minutes, or as long as you’d like. When you’re ready, open the eyes, gently bring some movement to your body, and move forward through your day. Come back to your grounding practice as often as you want.
Looking for more? Check out the Shop for a supportive yoga flow to continue your grounding practice.