Root Down to Rise Up Strong
In theme with beginning of new year, January's focus (and anytime of year) is on grounding down to help us feel grounded, strong and focused.
It’s also a perfect time of year to plant your intentions (personal/professional etc) and let these seeds of intention take root, laying a strong foundation for yourself/intentions. You might decide to stay with grounding focus for month (to get really grounded and focused) or revisit once a month (or more/less) to recharge, stay on track and reaffirm your intentions.
“The very heart of yoga practice is ‘abyhasa’ – steady effort in the direction you want to go.” – Sally Kempton
Ground to Bloom (Grow What You Need)
In yoga, what is touching the ground is the beginning/foundation of that pose and laying a stable and strong foundation comes first (before flexibility). When we build our stable and strong foundations by grounding down, we feel stronger in our bodies and can take these feelings of stability, strength, focus etc off the mat as well to help us stay grounded and motivated as we nurture our intentions.
10 Benefits of a Grounding Yoga Practice:
Relieves anxiety and stress
3 Tips for a Grounding Yoga Practice:
Set an intention at the start of your practice. Setting an intention is like planting a seed. Plant your intention and let it take root during your practice by repeating it a few times (or as many times as you’d like). Intentions are powerful tools to help you deepen your practice, boost motivation and stay focused and present.
Take a moment at the start of your practice to notice the grounding and expansive nature of your breath. Maybe imagine breathing in/out the word ‘ground’ or another word for several cycles of breath. Just focusing on the breath is grounding in itself as it draws our attention to the present moment.
Ground the parts of your body (e.g. hands, feet) touching the mat by pushing the ground away to activate your muscles (e.g. in arms, legs). When we push the ground away, we produce the same force in the opposite direction and consequently push/rise out of our poses with strength (ultimately building strength in our bodies).
Tips for 5 Grounding Yoga Poses:
1 - Tree (see photo above):
Root your hips and press down through your standing foot.
Reach your tailbone down and lift out of your waist.
Draw your shoulders down your back and broaden across chest.
2 - Downward Dog:
Push ground away through your hands and push your seat back and down.
Bend your knees and push the ground away to help lengthen your spine.
Send weight to the lower half of your body.
3 - Warrior 2:
Un-grip your toes and ground down through all 4 corners of both feet.
On inhale straighten your front leg, exhale re-bend front knee x3.
Ground down through your hips, maybe sink a little lower.
4 - Child's Pose:
Let your body be supported by the ground.
Soften your seat back and down.
For an active version, walk your hands forward to extend arms and push your seat back and down.
5 - Savasana:
Spread out as comfortably as possible with your palms face up.
Release each part of your body from your head to toes. As you scan, you can say ‘release back of head, forehead; soften face, jaw; release neck, chest, soften arms etc to release the balls of both big toes'.
Let your body feel the support of the ground beneath you. Repeat ‘I feel supported’ a few times to help you feel the connection/support of the floor.
When to Practise:
Practise anytime of the day that works for you. I like to practise a short session (about 15-20 minutes) in the morning to help ground and set me up for the day (Click here for Blog on Morning Yoga). Practising a longer session (e.g. 45-90 minutes) at the end of the day is also a great time to ground yourself after a long day/week and feel restored. In general, yoga will help you create a calm and resilient foundation for your day, yourself and your life.
What is Your Intention?
What intention or change (personal/professional etc) would you like to plant/grow/make? Maybe you already have an idea/know what you'd like to bloom. Set your intention, get on your mat and root to rise. In the process, you'll naturally/instinctively bloom what you need.
"May our thoughts be grounded in positivity; may our actions grow from love and may our hearts bloom what they need" - Melissa King
Other Grounding Activities:
Walking (I love a walk to help me feel grounded).
Dancing (Partner-dancing is one of my hobbies and I find that focusing on feeling the ground beneath my feet helps me to stay centred, strong (in my frame) and balanced whilst being led by my partner.
Breathing exercises e.g. inhale to a count of 4, hold for 1 and exhale to a count of 4. After a few cycles of breath, keep breathing at this pace but let go of the counting. Welcome the flow of breath through your nose.
Scanning the body from head to toes e.g. to help relax and/or fall asleep .
Repeating a mantra e.g. to fall asleep i.e. ‘I let go’ to help body surrender/switch off.
Spending time in nature.
Taking a bath or shower.
Massaging your feet.
My 3 Favourite Grounding Quotes:
“Mountain Pose teaches us that true strength is grounded, calm, and ever-present. Practicing Tadasana reminds us that we too can have the strength of the mountain.” – Gage Paine
“Get yourself grounded and you can navigate even the stormiest roads in peace.” – Steve Goodier
“Grounding in the body provides an anchor to steady your attention instead of losing your center.” – Oren Jay Sofer
I'd love to hear your thoughts/experiences on grounding down (on and off the mat). Please leave a comment below or DM me. Namaste.