My Journey Finding Steady Ground

Life often leads us to moments or even phases where we begin to search inside of ourselves for a sense of direction or an answer to a specific question. Why am I not successful? Where do I want this relationship, job, dream, etc. to take me? When we find ourselves here, it’s easy to get caught up in big, abstract ideas. However, if you’re wondering why you never make any lasting progress the answer may be in your foundation.

I recently moved from the big city of Atlanta to the small yoga ashram I grew up on in Sebastian, Florida. I’ve been living on the Ashram for almost two weeks and things seem to be changing fast. In preparation for my move I was looking for reasons why; why did I feel so strongly that this move was necessary? All I knew for sure was that while I had amazing people in my life in Atlanta, something was missing,

Since I’ve been home I have gotten some perspective. While life in Atlanta was rich with friends, love and yoga, there was one thing I could never do and that was get grounded. I was always moving, changing focus, feeling run down… I never formed roots, and without roots my growth was stunted. So now the question becomes not only how do I get grounded, but also what does it mean to ground?

The following are quotes that have helped me better understand this process from one of my favorite books on the Chakra system, “Wheels of Life: A Users Guide to the Chakra System” by Anodea Judith, PH.D. Each quote is paired with instruction on finding your grounding energy through complimentary yoga poses.

 

“When we loose our ground, our attention wanders from the present moment, and we appear to be “not all there”. In this state, we feel powerless and, like a vicious cycle, may no longer want to be here.” (p. 67)

Easy Pose {Sukhasana}

Sit in a comfortable seat against a wall. Lift the flesh around your right sits-bones, back and apart. Feel how this manual inner spiral grounds your right hip and thigh. Now repeat the same action on your left side. Feel grounded from your pelvis through your legs as you use slow, deep breaths to lengthen your spine and lift your shoulders up and back. Lean comfortably against the wall and feel supported through your whole back body. Continue to focus on your breath. Imagine the energy of your inhale gathering at the base of your spine and moving all the way up the spine to the top of your head.  On the exhale feel your energy move back down your spine settling into the base of your spine, in preparation for your next breath. Continue this for 3-5 minutes or until you feel your energy shift.

 

“Cut off from our source we loose our path. Many people who cannot find their true path in life have simply not yet found their ground. Sometimes they are busy looking up instead of down, where the feet meet the path.” (p. 67)

Standing Forward Fold

Come into a standing forward fold and place your fingertips on the ground. It’s okay if you have to bend your knees to keep your fingertips grounded. With your hands touching the earth, continue to feel connected to your source. Align your shins directly perpendicular to the earth and energetically move your thighs back and apart. Press into all four corners of your feet, notice how lifting your toes also lifts the arches in your feet and helps you to keep your ankles and shins engaged.  Press into the earth with your hands and feet as you inhale and come into Half Lift (bringing your spine to or towards parallel to your mat or the earth), and then fold back into your Forward Fold. Continue moving between the two poses until you feel the back of your legs starting to release tension.

 

 

 

“Grounding is a simplifying force. We are bringing our consciousness into the body which, for all practical purposes, exists in one space and one time only – the here and now. Our thoughts, by contrast, are much more versatile, extending outside of space and time.” (p. 69)

Plank Pose

Step your feet back into Plank Pose. With your feet hip distance apart, actively press into all four corners of you feet, as if you were standing in Mountain Pose. Bring your thighs back and apart, towards the ceiling behind you. Hug all of your energy into the mid-line of your body making your physical body your primary focus. Press into your hands, grounding through every finger pad, and all four corners of your palms. As your forearms energetically hug towards each other take 5 deep long breaths, just like you did in seated, clearing the energy held in your physical body.

 

 

“Through our roots, we gain nourishment, power, stability, and growth. Without this connection we are separated from nature, separated from our biological source.” (p. 67)

Cobra {Bujangasana}

As you move from Plank into Cobra Pose, practice keeping your hands stationary and feeling grounded through the transition. Energetically press your hands into your mat and towards your toes. As you do this, feel the bottom tips of your shoulder blades reach up towards the ceiling. Stay grounded through your pinky toes, and squeeze your shins towards each other (as if you were squeezing a yoga block between your them). Scoop your tailbone into the mat and bring your abdomen up and in. Hold the boundaries of the legs and arms, and release a deep exhale as you melt the center of your chest (spiritual heart) towards your mat, making your Cobra a truly grounded heart opener.

 

 

“When we are grounded, we are humble and close to the Earth. We live simply, in a state of grace. We can embrace stillness, solidity, and clarity, “grounding out” the stresses of everyday life, and increasing the vitality of our basic life force.” (p. 67)

Downward Facing Dog {Adho Mukha Svanasana}

From Cobra Pose, firm your hands into the earth and press into Down Dog. To make Down Dog a truly grounding pose bring your attention to your foundation, hands and feet. Start by bending your legs and flexing your feet. As you straighten your legs, bring your thighs back and apart and scoop your tailbone towards your heels, sending a grounding energy down your legs. With commitment, ground into your mat from your finger pads and all four corners of your palms. Bring the head of your arm bones forward, as if you were coming into Plank Pose, and lengthen your side body. Hold this pose for 5 conscious breaths and continue to lengthen your side body on your inhales and melt your heart on your exhales.

 

 

“Grounding is not dull and lifeless, but dynamic and vibrant. Generally it is our tensions that make us lethargic, and tension results from alienation between various parts of ourselves. As these parts are simplified and integrated, we experience increased vitality.” (p. 67)

Locust {Salabhasana}

From Down Dog, bring your front body onto your mat. On an inhale scoop your tailbone into the mat and bring your abdomen up and in, as you lift everything but your hips off your mat and come into your Locus Pose. Feel your self root into the Earth from your hips as you lift your torso, arms and legs. Press the inside of your feet behind you as you hug your legs together and lift the center of your chest up and forward.

 

 

 

“As we develop pain, we become, ironically, more resistant to grounding, for to ground is to be “in touch.” Getting in touch means feeling that pain. Yet this is the first step in making ourselves whole so that we begin to heal.” (p. 68)

Full Boat Pose {Paripurna Navasana}

Flex your feet and continue to hug your mid-line as you sit up tall and work your shoulder blades close to your spine. Start by keeping your fingertips on the ground, and your spine long, as you hug your legs together and lift your shins parallel to the mat. With strong feet, bring your hands out in front of you and work towards straightening your legs.

 

 

 

 

A Fun Ab Blasting Transition: The Rolli Polli Yogi:)

Now, work to find balance moving through these two poses with this mini series and hold each pose for a count of three breaths. Both of these poses take focus, body awareness and effort to maintain. Begin on your mat (center) in Locus Pose, lift your arms in front of you and roll to the left of your mat into Boat Pose, lift your hands over your ears and roll back to your mat (center) into Locus, and repeat to the right of your mat into Boat and back to your mat (center) into Locus Pose. Finding balance by hugging your mid-line, an expression of unwavering commitment to our intention of staying grounded and holding our center through transition. Finally release your full body into the mat. I learned this from Gina Minyard, and I love it!

 

“Ground is home-it’s familiar, safe, secure. It has a power of its own.” (p. 68)

Child’s Pose {Balasana}

Bring your toes together, and your knees to either side of the mat, into a wide knee Child’s Pose. Bring your arms out in front of you and  press your hands into the earth, bringing your shoulder blades close to your spine. Your awareness is now with your breath. Imagine your breath filling your back body and feel as supported in your lower back as you do through your hands and shins.

 

“Far from being a negative, limitation creates a container that allows energy to build and gel into substance. To manifest we must be willing to accept limitation. Grounding is a harmonious acceptance of natural limitation.” (p. 69)

 Squat Pose

Bring your feet slightly wider than your hips. Lift the arch of your feet and come into Squat Pose. If you heels don’t touch the ground, place a blanket under them for support. Lean your body to the inside of your thighs and bring your hands into prayer pose. As you energetically squeeze your thighs together, keep your shins and knees in line with your ankles. Press into your feet and lift your tailbone an extra two inches. Feel how the strength required to lift your tail bone helps ground your lower body into the earth.

 

 

 

“That which has ground, substance, and validity will find it’s way to manifestation. That which has roots will endure.” (p. 67)

Supported Headstand {Salamba Sirsasana}

If your are not fully comfortable with a Headstand you will want to set up near a wall. Starting in Hands and Knees Pose, inhale and lengthen through your side body on each side. Interlace your fingers and make a circle by stacking your thumbs, like you are grabbing onto a small tree trunk. This is the top of your base. With your elbows shoulder width apart, form a triangle with your forearms and place the crown of your head on the mat. The back of your head and your thumbs will touch, as you press the inside of your wrists into the mat. This forearm placement is the rest of your base for Supported Headstand.

Lift your knees off your mat and come into a modified Down Dog. If this is your pose, stop here. If you are ready to come into full headstand, continue to ground through your base as you walk you feet towards your arms, bringing your hips as high over your shoulders as possible. Now hugging your mid-line the goal is to raise both feet at the same time into Headstand. Actively press your base into your mat and feel grounded upside down.

 

 

For me, and maybe for you as well, being grounded is a lot of work. It’s a day by day journey and my mat is my vehicle. I hope that you have benefited from this series!

Much Love & Gratitude

Durgaya

durgaya@thehomeschoolofyoga.com

If your looking for a way to help your kids get grounded, check out this link: http://www.gogrounded.com

Kula Journal, Intuitively Charged Yoga, Durgaya Palmieri

About Durgaya Palmieri

Durgaya Palmieri is the creator and yoga instructor behind Kula Journal. Her love of yoga and community has lead her to the create KJ and to continue to seek out new contributors and readers who will enrich our yoga community with truly inspirational post, teachings and musings. Durgaya recently moved back to the spiritual community she grew up on, Kashi Ashram in Sebastian, Florida. For a full bio check out Yoga With Durgaya's bio page.

3 Responses

  1. I genuinely loved this brilliant article. Please continue this awesome work.

  2. Mary Burkins says:

    Wow! Excellent article. Great pictures – it sounds easy enough.