Have you ever heard a yoga teacher talk about grounding? Grounding just means feeling and establishing your connection to the ground or the earth. The best explanation I ever heard for feeling “ungrounded” is when you are feeling so stressed or overwhelmed that it feels like something like a gust of wind could literally knock you over. This is a common feeling when, as a mom, you are being pulled, literally or figuratively, in a million directions. When we are ungrounded it feels like it is hard to get anything done and hard to meet anyone’s needs, including our own.
Grounding can help us feel less overwhelmed and more in our body. While this is a term that yogis and others like to throw around a great deal, how exactly DOES one practice grounding? Here are some of my favorite ways to feel more grounded.
Walk barefoot. Ideally Outside. The most direct way to feel more connected to the ground is to actually connect with the ground. You can do this by walking barefoot and really paying attention to the feet on the ground, feeling all the sensations of the earth (whether it is the grass, a yoga mat or a carpet) against your feet. Recently I let my toddler run around outside without shoes on, and I realized it was his first time being barefoot and walking outside. The minute his feet hit the cool, wet grass he burst into a loud giggle and immediately began tearing around. This is no surprise; feet are full of nerve endings. This means stronger sensations, and can be helpful if you are trying to practice mindfulness, as when we bring our attention to our feet it is easier to hold it there then in less sensitive places. Unfortunately we often don’t take time to notice these sensations, and walking with shoes on limits that ability. The good news is, it is spring, the perfect time to take off your shoes and walk around, in your backyard or a local park. If you don’t have anywhere you can walk around outside, a cleared floor space works just as well.
Practice some grounding Yoga poses- Some yogic poses are particularly grounding, especially standing poses, which give you another opportunity to feel your feet in the ground. My favorite is chair pose, where we not only use our feet to firmly ground us in place but we also send our hips back to the earth, while lifting up, something that would be difficult to do if we don’t focus on being grounded. Additionally, holding a pose like chair for a longer period of time requires a great deal of energy, which can draw the mind away from rumination and offer the nervous system an opportunity to relax.
Breath from the Ground Up. Another wonderful way to practice grounding is to practice Breathing from the Ground up, a technique I first learned during my Yoga Therapy Training with the Minded Institute, and that I now can’t imagine how I ever lived without. I’ve recorded a short version here. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xt1GUeZG1AkozWeUIPYCg1YpiMtr9WOf/view?usp=sharing
If you are feeling ungrounded please take a few moments to ground yourself today. Just 5 minutes with any of these practices can help you feel more connected to the earth and less likely to blow away or be pulled apart.