Root to Rise
Blog Author: Emilia Wheaton
Blog Editor: Kristen Kennedy Smith
Feeling scattered or distracted, when your mind feels like a chaotic place, can be a part of life while we are living among constant little stressors and overstimulation. If we let this hectic energy go untamed we allow our thoughts and feelings to float adrift without anything tethering the strands of our mind together. We’ve lost track of our brain’s peace and order and allowed our mind to become scattered as we jump from one task to the next. Or, we lose ourselves in our thoughts, jump between one idea to the next without the ability to focus on developing an action plan or analyzing each of our thoughts. Some of us might feel unsure of ourselves, lacking confidence in our decisions and result in anxiety. I’m confident each of us has felt this before.
Picture yourself plopped in a busy open air produce market with the intention of buying ingredients for dinner but you forgot the recipe at home so you wander from stall to stall picking up the ingredients you seem to remember but are simultaneously distracted by the exotic fruits and the eclectic art and then, out of the blue, you run into a friend who has a story to tell so you sit down for coffee but the whole time you’re talking with her you are racking your brain for the recipe’s essential spice you don’t want to forget. Pheewwwww. Hectic, right??
Envision this marketplace scene as the inner workings of your mind. This feeling is the result of losing our sense of groundedness. But not to fear! We can reclaim our internal stability and feel more grounded if we just consciously practice a few strategies and actions as a peaceful rearrangement of our flighty minds.
Many rely on frequent yoga practice to ground themselves. You can incorporate grounding poses into your practice, or do them independently to cultivate a sense of stability. One grounding pose is mountain pose, where you stand firmly with your feet together and your arms by your sides and palms facing forward. Another is a seated twist: sit comfortably with your legs crossed and place your opposite hand on the opposite knee to gently breathe into a soft twist in your spine. A third, and my personal favorite, is your preferred variation of child's pose: sit on your shins and allow yourself to fold over, letting your belly rest on your thighs and forehead rest on the earth, choosing to stretch your arms toward the top of your mat or to relax them alongside your torso and legs. These poses channel the calming, stable energy of the earth to our minds and bodies.
For bonus points, try these poses barefooted to connect to Mother Earth most directly. This intentional skin to earth contact is sure to root you and allow the transfer of energy and nutrients from the earth to your physical body. Do you ever get the urge to take your shoes off and feel the cool green grass peek between your toes? When hiking along a creek do you ever ditch your shoes so you can feel the water rush over the river rocks? This urge is a natural reminder that we are in need of this body-earth connection that only being physically in touch with nature can provide.
Another benefit of grounding is the balancing of the root chakra which can allow us to feel calm, in control and present. When our root chakra is balanced, we feel rooted in ourselves and less likely to be swayed by the opinion or actions of others. With our root chakra grounded, we can step out of fight or flight mode and calmly make decisions that best benefit ourselves based on information from our surroundings we can gather intentionally rather than simply react to in a fluster.
The next time you are feeling spacey, distracted, or unstable, I invite you to try a grounding technique. This experience, a lack of groundedness, is closely related to an imbalance of your root chakra, so pay special attention to what this area of your body is asking for. Roll out your yoga mat for a few quick grounding poses. Step into your backyard and remove your shoes, digging your toes into the earth. Root your body down into the earth so you may rise above the commotion of your mind.
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