Get Grounded In Your Yoga Practice
Connecting to the Earth
There’s something about the fall. Whether it's the crisp cool air, the cozy clothing, the warm apple cider or the pumpkins, it makes for a great time to hunker down, make some changes and clear your head. In my life and in my practice, I find the best way to do that is to take a cue from mother nature and get grounded. For me, the fall is all about getting down low - sap is running down trees to be stored in the roots for winter, beautifully coloured leaves are falling and returning to the ground, we pick pumpkins that have grown along the earth for weeks or eat the amazing bounty of root vegetables available in the cooler months. So following this trend, my fall yoga practice tends to focus a bit more on rooting my feet into the earth (or my shoes), my sit bones into my mat (or my chair) and the feeling that the entire back of my body is sinking into the floor beneath me. Grounding yoga poses help to quiet the mind and release anxiety.
Grounding isn't always a feeling of heaviness, however; it can also be quite energizing. We can use the ground as a boundary or support to push against to lift higher or grow taller. With both feet on the floor, notice that the ground holds firm and doesn't sink - it literally supports you and even pushes back. A harder chair might remind us to sit up straight; we can also imagine it pushing us there.
Feeling grounded is important both physically and emotionally. When we find a connection to the earth, we connect to something much larger than ourselves. We remember that we're not alone floating in space; we are attached to a huge planet that feeds us and gives us shelter. Our problems can seem smaller when we feel part of something bigger.
My favourite grounding pose of all is Savasana. Resting pose, corpse pose, whatever you call it, I highly suggest you take some time and do it this fall. Lying flat on your back, legs bent or out in front of you, feet "flopping" out to the sides, arms by your sides with your palms up, close your eyes and get low. Whether at the end of each yoga session, or at the end of each day, try it for five minutes. Savasana is better than sleep! This pose is about letting go completely, integrating and assimilating what you have just practiced or simply been through in your day. I can think of no other pose where so much of our surface area comes in contact with the earth, and allows the ground or the mat to support us completely. Savasana makes room to release what is finished and gives us time to process new events in our lives.
So this fall, take a few minutes and think about gravity; grow some roots and stand a little firmer into the ground in tadasana; sink a little bit lower in your warrior; and melt a little more in Savasana. You never know what you might find when you get down low!
Mia Brown is a lover and a teacher of all things food and yoga. firstname.lastname@example.org