The word grounded gets thrown around a lot in the yoga world. In fact, we hear it so often that we probably don’t really stop to consider its importance.
The idea of “feeling grounded” is not just yoga teacher/hippy speak; it’s actually a really important concept when it comes to our health and well-being.
When we spend too much time thinking, our energy is directed upwards into our minds. This creates imbalance and stress. It can make us feel scattered, confused, and flighty, and these things take us away from emotional stability and clarity of mind.
Refocusing Our Energy Downward
Luckily, we can use yoga to help bring our focus back to our body and its connection to the earth.
Now, redistributing our energy and focus downward may appear strange at first, because we’re conditioned towards up-ness—“Grow up,” “Aim high,” “Reach for the stars.”
Still, life is all about balance, and there’s a reason why we say “calm down” and not “calm up.”
So, if you want to avoid feeling like Dorothy caught in a tornado, here are five yoga poses that can help you put your feet firmly on the ground.
1. Sukhasana or Easy Pose
Often, the simplest poses are the most effective. Because your sit bones are actually pressing into the ground in Sukhasana, you can tangibly feel the connection with the earth beneath you.
For some people, this is much more effective than poses where you need to visualise that connection. Try to create an even foundation for a more balanced effect (aka don’t favour one butt cheek!).
Tip: You might like to put one hand to your heart center, with the other hand or fingertips to the floor beside you. Notice how this makes you feel.
2. Virabhadrasana II or Warrior II Pose
If you’re feeling really flighty or scattered, holding Warrior II for a couple of minutes can help you feel stable and steady, both physically and emotionally. It is a Muladhara or root chakra pose, so it can balance some of that overactive mind energy and send it downwards.
Tip: You can close your eyes and imagine a beam of light running from your pelvic floor or tailbone, connecting to the earth beneath you. For super optimum grounding, imagine that beam of light running all the way to the earth’s core.
3. Trikonasana or Triangle Pose
Another root chakra pose, Trikonasana has the same stabilising effects as Warrior II. I find that the two poses work really well when practiced together, and the subtle twist in the spine creates a light feeling around the heart, which is also really soothing.
Tip: Work to smooth out and steady the flow of breath. Feel the inhale come up through the soles of your feet to the crown of your head, and the exhale flow back down through your body into the ground—literally washing you with earthy energy.
4. Tadasana or Mountain Pose
Tadasana gives you the chance to feel steady and unshakable, like a mountain. It’s an uncomplicated asana so it gives the mind an opportunity to rest as you take your awareness (which is different from thinking) to the experience of simply embodying the pose.
Tip: Take your Tadasana outside. I find it particularly grounding when I plant my feet into the earth, either on the grass or in the sand (concrete just doesn't have the same effect).
5. Vrksasana or Tree Pose
Trees are wonderful sources of grounding inspiration.
The balance aspect of this pose helps to calm down a busy mind and gives you the opportunity to surrender to the moment (excellent for those of us with stress-prone controlling tendencies!). The quietness on the inside that results from this pose can be really soothing for our emotions.
Tip: Imagine you are actually a tree, and you have roots wrapped around your legs and growing down from your feet into the earth. Notice how much more balanced you feel when you do this.
As well as these poses, focusing on smooth, steady breathing can help to calm and ground you. You can do this anytime, whether you’re holding poses, sitting on the bus, walking the dog, making dinner, or lying in bed.
So, do you agree with my list? Do you have another favourite grounding pose? Let me know in the comments!