Just for a moment, imagine you are outside in the sun, sitting or walking with bare feet on a beach or a patch of soft grass in the park. We’ve all done it, but can you recall how you felt while you were visualizing that moment? Were you calm and relaxed? Did you feel grounded?
As yogis, we all talk about being grounded. We start every class with grounding to release the excitement, stress and over thinking in our heads to become still and aware of the moment. Many of us walk into class feeling like a “live wire” and leave feeling either like a heavy rock or a sleepy head, but nonetheless calm and focused.
You’re a Real Live Wire
But have you ever thought of yourself as an actual “live wire” that needs to be grounded? Any good electrician will tell you this is a basic necessity. The practice of grounding wires literally into the earth enables electrical currents to return safely to the ground to avoid danger in case of a short circuit.
Kind of like the way we yogis practice asana and meditate to ground ourselves to avoid becoming victims of our own emotional short circuits.
Ways to Channel Your Energy
In a typical yoga class we start grounding ourselves by using various methods. However, grounding can be done through asana, or just like a wire, by connecting with the earth. Here are a few easy ways to become grounded.
1. Focus on your breath
This may be the simplest, yet most powerful way of settling the mind and body. Start by noticing the quality of your breath (smooth, short, long, forced). Then count your breath with an even inhale and exhale. Just this simple act of concentration is enough to calm the body and mind.
2. Find Your Roots
Bring awareness to your sit bones on the floor, sitting well with good posture. Feel your feet on the earth – lift and lower your toes, your heels, the corners of your feet. Invoke the thoughts of being rooted with actual roots. You might even meditate on your root, or Muladhara, chakra which represents the earth. These simple acts of visualization can help with stability and awareness.
3. Fold Forward
Forward folding postures enable us to calm down and calm our breath. Poses such as uttanasana, paschimottanasana, janu sirsasana, or any other forward folding version of a pose will help to ground the body, mind and calm the parasympathetic nervous system.
4. Barefoot Bliss
Ditch the shoes and go for a walk outside. Unless it’s cold outside, in which case, go hug a tree. According to scientists, the earth has a negative charge which helps to balance out our own current. We actually work symbiotically with the earth that helps us ground physically and mentally. Connecting with the earth – and anything that grows out of it – helps us calm our own systems. Scientists also have found that connecting with the earth has shown physical improvements from decreasing inflammation, anxiety issues as well as claims for anti-aging.
If you’ve ever received a reflexology treatment, you know how powerful it is for healing the body. Developed with the highest number of nerve endings of the body, the feet are not only useful in letting us feel what’s beneath us, but they’re also useful in connecting us with the earth to help us to be grounded, physically and mentally.
Think about it. Do you feel differently when you’re in a big city than out in the rural countryside surrounded by trees? Of course you do.
However you make the connection, whether it’s in a yoga class, 20 minutes of meditation or walking on the beach, without the effort to ground ourselves we will easily short circuit and become real live wires.