We can only manifest and reach our full potential when we’re grounded. But what does grounding mean?
Grounding is connecting our physical body, energy, and center with Mother Earth so that we are stable, balanced, and present. A grounded person is someone who’s fully aware, calm-headed, and focused, ready to take opportunities that come her way, whereas the ungrounded among us tend to daydream and lose their balance easily from absorbing too much negative energy around them.
Yoga and Grounding
Yoga by itself is a grounding practice. All yoga poses that require a firm rooting of the feet on the floor, while the upper body reaches toward the sky, are grounding. When you practice yoga as a kind of meditation in movement, it is grounding. But yoga may also become ungrounding when you are not fully present in your practice, or when you’re holding a pose or moving from one pose to another without breathing mindfully.
There are many grounding rituals you can practice to help you connect with the Earth and become more present on and off the mat. Here are three of them:
Tuning in to the Earth can be as easy as inhaling and exhaling evenly. Get quiet, sit still in a comfortable position (feet firmly on the floor if you’re on a chair), hands rested on your front thigh or above the knee, palms down, and inhale and exhale to a count of four or five each.
Focus on your breath and imagine your body anchoring deeper and deeper to the Earth below you. Try this even if you only have a couple of minutes. Pranayama techniques such as brahmari (the bumble-bee breath) or nadi shodana (alternate nostril breathing) are also wonderful grounding practice.
2. Eat Grounding Food
Root vegetables such as ginger, daikon, and turnips; Earth element food that are yellow or golden in colors; and grains such as rice, amaranth, and millet are food known to be grounding and centering. Avoid iced drinks if possible, as too much cold food can weaken the digestive system according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
In the Chinese Five-Element Theory, Fire element produces the Earth element that we need to ground us. Add Fire element into your body by cooking your food, which is important especially in winter, when Fire element is at its weakest. This is why winter soups and stews are so comforting and grounding. Cook lightly in the summer, when Fire is strong.
3. Take a Walk in the Woods
Nature calms and heals. In Japan, the forest is even seen as medicine. The Japanese term for taking a walk in the woods is shinrin-yoku, which translates to “forest bathing.” Inspired by ancient Buddhist practices, shinrin-yoku is a gentle walking meditation in the forest. Clarity, increased intuition, better energy and emotional stability are just a few of the restorative benefits of walking in the woods.
If you see a tree that you like in your walk, hug it! One of the most powerful poses used as a resting pose or standing meditation in Chi Gong is called “hug a tree.” The pose roots us into the ground, ready to receive chi (life force energy) from the sky. Hugging a real tree is even better than visualizing it: just make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, knees are slightly bent, and your arms hugging the tree are at the heart level. Relax into the pose and stay for a few even breaths. You’ll feel as strong and rooted as the tree!
Incorporate these grounding rituals into your life so that you can be fully present in your body and mind, ready to manifest your dreams when opportunities come. As the mystic poet Kabir says, “Be strong then, and enter into your own body; there you have a solid place for your feet. Think about it carefully! Don't go off somewhere else!”