Whether you’re on your mat in a yoga class, or just getting home from work, it’s not uncommon to hear the words, “getting grounded.” Obviously this is not the same as when you were “grounded” as a child when you misbehaved. It is simply defined as a need for mentally and physically “leveling out” and finding inner/outer balance.
When put in practice, grounding is a mechanism seen on three levels:
1. A physical connection to the earth beneath you.
2. A shift in mental focus, allowing you to center your thoughts.
3. Whatever brings your mind and body to ease into the here and now.
Grounding yourself is a mechanism by which you’re able to stabilize your energies, center your mind, and focus on the moment. As a result, you’re able to take a deep breath, step back, and focus on YOU for that very moment (no matter the time and place).
Incorporating the practice of grounding into your life can be done any number of ways, but one of the most recognized and impactful methods is through the practice of yoga. Certain yoga poses employ a sense of grounding, allowing your body and mind the opportunity to release anxieties and physically root you to the earth.
The root, or Sacral chakra in particular, is based entirely on how our bodies are connected to the earth and acts as a natural energy pathway. Located at the base of the spine near the tailbone, the root chakra serves as an entry point for universal energies and sustains a healthy foundation for your bodily function.
It’s not surprising that with this concept in mind, Chinese tradition holds a heavy focus on strengthening and sustaining this root point. Earth Qi (or Chi) represents the patterns of energy and the earth’s magnetic field that we’re surrounded by. Many exercises tthat strengthen the body and mind (including yoga) are done barefoot.
A central practice within Chinese tradition includes the growing of a “root.” The KD 1 point in acupuncture (along the kidney meridian), involves the opening of a conduit, and a connection between the earth’s surface and a person’s feet and body.
With yoga as a grounding mechanism, you’re forced to rely on both your mental focus and a connection to the earth, in order to sustain a balance of the mind and body.
In Yoga, four poses that are particularly helpful in grounding (both mentally and physically) are:
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
2. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
4. Child’s Pose (Balasana) — Everybody’s all-time favorite!
But there are plenty of other options to ground yourself outside of yoga. While grounding is partly psychological, in the physical sense it can be done very easily just by stepping outside for a breath of fresh air.
Our bodies desperately yearn for a healthy connection to nature and to the earth. This connection is what nurtures us, it keeps us alive and energized. More importantly, this connection with nature reminds us what an immaculate world we have around us. As humans, we spend far too much time insulated in our synthetic environments and disconnected from the outside world. This disconnect poses significant risks to our overall health and wellbeing.
And once again, establishing that root and absorbing the earth’s energies by grounding yourself, is mostly easily done when barefoot.
This practice has become known in the wellness world as earthing. By creating a direct connection to the earth by going barefoot, your body is able to absorb the earth’s limitless supply of free electrons. These electrons, studies suggest, act as antioxidants and work by stabilizing and neutralizing harmful free radicals that results from inflammation, injury and/or toxins.