Grounded is a term often used by yoga and meditation teachers alike, but it can sound clichéd when over-used and under-explained, as Kate Kendall tells us…
In the simplest of terms, feeling grounded is a sense of slowing down and being in your body, or inhabiting the whole space that is your physical body. It teaches us to savour the moment and live it fully, and when we live at this pace and in that state, we’re less reactive, more clearheaded, calm and creative. Grounding is a process of dynamic contact with the Earth. With so much spiritual emphasis on energy rising and transcending the body, there should be just as much emphasis on energy in a downward direction, for it allows us to remember that we are solidly here, in the now. When we connect with the Earth we sense its boundaries and edges, and although this may sound limiting, it creates a sense of security. We all have those favourite things, right? A chair, a meal, familiar surroundings – the things that help make us feel at home. They help us feel rooted and like us. Without these things we can feel unstable and off-balance. When we lose our ground, our attention wanders from the present moment.
Being grounded has the capacity to soothe and, often, to free us from stress and anxiety. It’s the foundation for any mindfulness or meditation practice and perhaps one of the most under-trained skills we have in modern society. Grounding is a daily ritual for me. A game-changer and an essential way to connect not only to myself, but also to nature and those around me. You see, in our busy dayto- day lives, we leave the body and we journey into the mind, which transports us into all kinds of illusions. If you really observe, you’ll notice that you’re in your mind most of the time, ofton from the moment you wake up. The problem is that you’re likely sending your mind away from your home base (the body) too frequently, to the point where it can feel like you’re uprooted, and immersed in thoughts that, when you really observe them, can be harmful. If our thoughts create our reality, which is a common spiritual belief, then what we pour our mind into matters. There are many pathways to coming home that will be explored in this chapter, including awareness of the Earth underneath, awareness of breath and awareness of sensations.
Come into a cross-legged posture with hands near your heart and chin near your throat. Pause here for a few moments, close your eyes and bring your awareness to your base – your seat bones and the heavier bones of your legs. This is your anchor. If you’re having trouble keeping the spine lifted, sit on a cushion or block. Spend five breaths in each stage of the pose during steps 1–5 following on from here, spend five breaths in each stage. For the last rounds, use one breath per movement.
Inhale and, keeping your hands together, lift your arms right up above your head.
Exhale, separate the hands and take your arms out to the side and back to interlace your hands behind you. Inhale and ease your knuckles down and back. Stay in the posture and breathe into the chest. Stay here for the exhalation.
Inhale, and move your arms back up above your head until your palms touch.
Exhale the hands down through the midline of the heart, returning to namaste or prayer position with the hands. Repeat the above sequence five times and then finish with the following.
After the rounds of steps 2-5, inhale the arms out to the side and up to lengthen the spine, then exhale to twist to the right, placing the left hand to the right knee and the right hand behind you. Inhale to lengthen the spine and an exhale to gently twist to the right. Inhale the arms up above head. Exhale, twist to the left side, and repeat.
Position the right shin in front of the left, with heels away from the seat bones to form an upside-down triangle. Inhale the arms above the head, interlace the hands and tilt forward from the hips as you exhale. Keep the spine long and inhale to slowly come up. Switch legs and repeat, returning to a crosslegged namaste to flow through the sequence as many times as feels good. Remember, ease and flow. Take this with you off the mat and into the day.This excerpt is from Life in the Flow by Kate Kendall (Murdoch Books, £16.99). The book is available to buy now. Images for flow sequence by Amanda Prior.
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