3 Poses for Staying Grounded This Summer
Hatha Yoga is the yoga of sun and moon (Ha and Tha). The goal is to balance the two forces within the body. This theme of balance carries through all Hatha Yoga practice, which includes most of the Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Anusara classes out there today.
For most of us, the natural impulse is actually toward imbalance. When we have a lot of energy, we tend to go do things that take energy or that are energizing. For example, high energy, fire-driven people are often drawn toward sun salutations, inversions and power flow classes. On the other hand, those mellow souls among us are often drawn to yin practices.
In the summer time, we have a more "sun" driven lifestyle. This weekend, most of us will spend a lot of time in the sun. (Some of us undoubtedly too much. Remember to pick up some Aloe!) Our bodies will feel energized, which could lead to an urge to go power through a flow class.
Fight that urge. Try to balance the "Ha" in your life with a little bit of "Tha." This is the attitude of a true yogi -- seeking balance in the chaos. Try these poses for some extra grounding over the holiday weekend and whenever you need them this summer:
Yoga Mudrasana (Psychic Union Pose)
All forward folds calm the central nervous system. (You may guess from this statement backbends stimulate the central nervous system, and you would be guessing right!) Try any forward fold you are drawn to, but yoga mudrasana is my suggestion.
- Take the right wrist, known as the "Ha" side of the body, in the left hand, the "Tha" side of the body.
- If it does not already touch the ground, place a block or bolster under the forehead at the third eye center.
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2)
Warrior poses are strength and heat building, but they encourage you to get grounded in your feet. Since Warrior 1 and 2 both have a foundation of two feet on the ground, they are recommended for grounding. Warrior 2 is the more approachable posture of the first two variations.
- Allow the outer edge of the back foot to seal to the mat as if you're trying to stop a flood of running water.
- Ground down through all four corners on the front foot, putting a lot of energy into the mound behind the big toe. Feel the Earth supporting you.
- Hold for two to five minutes, breathing deeply, feeling the ground strongly beneath your feet. If you intend to hold for some time, try the mental mantra, "I am grounded to the Earth," on the inhale and, "It supports me always," on the exhale.
Pashimotanasana (Forward Bend)
Seated forward bend allows for a long line of contact between your body and the ground. The forward bend calms the central nervous system, while the length in the side body encouraged deep breathing, also very grounding.
For extra Earthiness in this pose:
- Concentrate on the area where the floor meets the back of the legs. There is a narrow plane of contact that is neither floor nor body. Keep your focus on this plane as you bend deeper.
- As needed, place a bolster or blanket under the knees, bending them enough to get your head down in between your knees. Allowing the legs to surround the field of vision blocks out the outer distractions, keeping you centered.