Grounded…it’s a present and steady state of mind and heart from where we can act skilfully in any situation, no matter how challenging. When you are grounded, you feel calm, clear-headed, confident, balanced, flexible and resilient, you are open and available for happiness to enter. You may also have a deep sense of connection to the earth.
Sometimes you really have to work at it. When looking for ways to stay grounded, one of the ways is to connect with the energy of the root chakra, the grounding foundation to all the chakras. Everything begins at the root.
The chakras are the body’s energy centres in the yogic tradition. “Chakra” in Sanskrit translates to “wheel”. You can imagine them as 7 spinning wheels located in seven spots along the spine, from the root chakra at the very base of the spine up to the crown chakra at the top of the head. Each chakra is associated with a different colour as well as with different organ systems, different aspects of our physical, emotional and spiritual journey.
Your root chakra, called Muladhara in Sanskrit, is located at the very base of your spine. It's related to the earth element which represents stability, safety, and security in our lives, the trust that our basic survival needs (food, shelter, belonging) will be met. The root chakra is related to the colour red, grounding and protective, and to the bija mantra “lam”.
Yoga is by nature a very grounding practice if you practice mindfully. And certain poses are particularly helpful to connect with your root chakra and to cultivate that sense of feeling grounded. First let’s talk about how you can stay grounded and present in any yoga practice.
TIPS TO STAY GROUNDED AND PRESENT IN EVERY YOGA PRACTICE
Start with a solid foundation - Whichever parts of your body are in contact with the ground become the foundation of your pose. Pressing evenly into the floor through all parts of your foundation will give you a sensation of solid rootedness. Once you've found your foundation, you can then consolidate it to be strong and safely grounded in the pose.
Practice each pose with mindfulness - Investigate your pose. Be intentional with your movements and be aware of all the details and the specific sensations you experience as you create each pose, as you transition from one to the other, as you pause. This is the best way to a build solid yoga practice, and to practice safely.
Stay present - If your mind wanders use your awareness of your breath or of your foundation as your anchor to come back to the present moment of your practice.
Get the right yoga mat - If you’re slipping and sliding on your yoga mat, it’s pretty hard to stay grounded. A high quality yoga mat that offers exceptional grip and traction will make all the difference in your practice, and it’s worth the investment. My favourite mat is the Original ecoYoga mat. Its unparalleled no-slip grip will allow your soul to soar while your body stays solidly grounded.
8 GROUNDING YOGA POSES TO CONNECT WITH YOUR ROOT CHAKRA
You can do each of these poses individually (each one can be a complete practice) or connect them with into a lovely grounding sequence. Do each pose for 5 to 10 breaths, or as long as you wish. Transition between each one with awareness of your foundation.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
It’s always very grounding and calming to start a practice with Child’s Pose, with you spine gently curved and your forehead on the floor. Start on all fours with your knees hip distance apart and the tops of your feet on the ground, big toes touching. Bring your hips back to sit your heels. Lower your forehead towards the floor, or to stacked fists or forearms; if your forehead is on the ground, you can reach your arms forward, or back by your heels. Relax completely, let go of any tension you may be carrying with you and receive the support of the floor into your body.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
As you stand with your feet about hip width apart and parallel, feel your feet rooting down into the earth. Yoga teachers sometimes say "plant all 4 corners of your feet firmly into the ground" - it’s a visualization that means balance your weight between the base of your little toe, the base of you big toe, the inside of your heel and the outside of your heel. Try lifting all of your toes off the mat, spreading them wide, and then firmly planting them back down on the mat, and see how that feels. Lift your knee caps to engage your thigh muscles and gently pull your abdominal muscles in towards your spine. Allow your shoulders to relax and drop away from your ears. Your spine should be tall and straight.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Sink your hips back like you are sitting back into a chair. Try to send your hips back instead of your knees forward. Engage your core to support your lower back. Press your feet into the floor and feel them rooting down as you bring your arms up alongside your ears. Simultaneously lengthen and lift through your spine and heart. Look straight forward, keeping the back of your neck long and your gaze focused.This pose is all about finding powerful inner strength and breathing calmly while you are sitting in intense effort.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
This is a symmetrical forward bend and wonderful to release tension. You can start in Mountain Pose and hinge forward at the waist. Keep your knees generously bent, especially if you have tight hamstrings, and allow your spine and shoulders and arms and head to drape towards the floor like a heavy velvet curtain; no pushing, no straining - just gravity inviting you to release. If possible, release the muscles in your neck to allow the weight of your head to traction towards the floor. Relax and release here.
Yogic Squat (Malasana)
Get close to the earth and calm your mind with this hip-opening pose. We were born to do this, but our body’s have lost the easy ability. This gets easier with practice. From standing with feet hip width apart, turn your toes outwards in the same direction as your knees, lower your sitz bones towards the floor until you get into a squat. Rock back and forth on your feet until you find a comfortable width. Prop your heels on a rolled up blanket if you need a lifted support. Your spine should be as straight as possible. You can bring your hands to the floor or to Anjali Mudra at heart-centre.
Cobbler’s Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Connecting with your root chakra and with earth energy in this powerful hip opening pose. Sit on your sitz bones and hug your knees into your chest keeping your feet on the floor close to your hips, then gently allow your knees to drop open. Keep the soles of your feet together and your knees bent wide. It’s interesting to try your feet at different distances from your hips so that you can work on different muscles in your pelvis, hips and legs. Gently bend forward from the hips keeping your spine straight. Notice if you have a tendency to hunch over or lead with your head on this pose. You do not need to get your head to the floor! If you can bend enough forward you could rest your head on a bolster or a block for greater release. But even bending forward an inch or two is enough.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
This is a great pose to feel your feet firmly rooted into the floor, and to connect with root chakra energy.Lying on your back, bend your knees and bring your feet to the floor close to the hips, hip width apart. Bring your attention to all the parts of your body in contact with the floor -- your foundation, and ground evenly through all the contact points - especially the back of your head, shoulders, arms and feet. Keep the natural curve of your neck away from the floor and start to move your knees towards your feet and then lift your hips up towards the sky. Interlace your fingers under your raised back and press down through your arms. You may lift the lower ribcage as well if comfortable for your neck. Stay and breath for 5-10 breaths, then release your hands and slowly lower down vertebrae by vertebrae.
Legs Up The Wall
This is one of the most restful and calming poses you can do and it allows you to go into a deep state of relaxation. With the entire upper body on the floor and the weight of the legs rooting into your hip joints, you will feel held and supported by the earth. To get into this pose, sit up close to the wall facing one side, and then swing your legs up the wall as you lie down on your back. Keep your hips a few inches from the wall, or prop a folded blanket or low cushion under your sacrum – this helps to ensure you have circulation flowing through your hips as you rest here.
Mantra Meditation - The root chakra is associated with the bija mantra “lam” . Chant "lam" aloud or silently. Or try any mantra meditation such as SO HUM.
Mother Earth Mudra (Bhu Mudra) - Curl the ring finger, little finger and thumb into the palm keeping the index and middle fingers straight, pointing to or touching the ground.
Red - Red is the colour of the root chakra. Choose to sit on a red meditation cushion.
Comments will be approved before showing up.