I'm a huge advocate of yoga for so many reasons, but one reason is the grounding benefits from hitting the mat.
If you're familiar with the chakra system, chakra one forms our foundation. It's our grounding chakra.
Unfortunately, many of us have lost our footing; our heads are lost up in the clouds, causing our chakras to come out of alignment. It’s not uncommon for this to happen; we're constantly thinking, planning and obsessing, but the problem with living in the head is that we push all our energy upward. Like a balloon that’s been released, you can run the risk of losing your connection with the earth.
We and all other living beings are glued to the earth; we're all part of an entire planet. If we forget our connection with Earth, we run the risk of becoming an isolated ego, and our own problems become all that matter.
Our childhood experiences can dictate how our energy flows as an adult. During childhood, energy learns certain pathways, and these pathways are formed as a result of our experiences. If we suffer hardships such as abandonment, divorce, alcoholism or physical and mental abuse, our bodies enter a fearful mode.
The natural reaction of the body in a fearful situation is to tense up, and this energy moves upward creating a mind body split. We lose the fundamental belief that we have a right to be here. We lose our footing.
When the ground disappears, it leaves us charged with anxiety, which is directly tied to our physical vitality, endurance and mental perseverance. We essentially lose our security, and it can have devastating effects on our mental health and prosperity.
If the first chakra is unbalanced, inevitably the rest of the chakras become unbalanced. We need to start from the beginning and work our way up. Chakra one lays the fundamental foundation for our entire system.
To determine if you have an unbalanced grounding chakra, you should consider these questions:
- Have you suffered any abuse in your life?
- Are you overcharged or anxious?
- Can you put your thoughts into action?
- Are you easily stressed?
- Are you restless?
- Do you often think you have inner demons?
- Are you fearful or constantly worried?
- Do you ever have thoughts of self-destruction?
Another sign that your grounding chakra could be out of balance is if you also have symptoms of overdeveloped upper chakras.
Characteristics of over-developed upper chakras include:
- Poor boundaries
- Afraid of change
Many upper-chakra qualities are sought after — who doesn't want to be creative or spiritual? — but it’s important to have healthy roots. If our roots are pulled from the ground, we will slowly start to whither away.
If you're unbalanced, counseling and mindfulness will be useful tools, but yoga can also mesh perfectly alongside any treatment plan. Yoga is all about developing a mind-body connection. We learn how to breathe and how to send energy to different parts of the body.
There are many yoga poses that are great for grounding: tree pose, standing forward bend, squats or child's pose. But I'm going to describe in detail just one: Mountain Pose (Or Tadasana).
Mountain pose is one of the best grounding poses because it requires a solid foundation through the feet and a straight spine which allows energy to freely move upwards and downwards. You can do mountain pose anywhere (you don't need to be on a mountain); it simply involves standing.
Try this once a day:
- Stand up straight, with your feet together.
- Spread your toes wide and grip the ground.
- Roll your inner thighs back and draw the tailbone down.
- Move your chin down and draw your shoulder blades together, place arms at your sides with hands facing outward.
- Focus on the feeling of your feet rooting into the earth. Feel every inch of your foot: your toes and arches. Notice how the ground is solid and supportive.
- Send the breath downward; your energy moves down the body into your deeply rooted feet. Now you might start to feel "grounded."
When we do this, even if only for a moment, we're paying attention to the energy in the lower extremities instead of the head. We can rest the energy of the mind.
We are tall, solid and proud, like a tree. Enjoy your reconnection with Mother Earth. We all have a right to be here.
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