Yoga and Earthing – Wellness Inspired Practices
Whether you’re in class, getting onto your yoga mat, or just getting home from work, it’s not uncommon to overhear someone talking about “getting grounded”.
In practice, grounding is a mechanism seen on three levels. It’s 1) a physical connection to the earth beneath you, 2) a shift in mental focus, allowing you to center your thoughts, and 3) whatever else brings your mind and body to ease in the here and now.
Grounding yourself is a mechanism by which you’re able to stabilize your energies, center your mind, and focus on the moment. As a result, you’re able to take a deep breath, step back, and focus on you for that very moment – no matter the time and place.
Let’s Start with Yoga
Incorporating the practice of grounding into your life can be done any number of ways, but one of the most recognized and impactful is through the practice of yoga. Through certain yoga poses, this sort of grounding presents your body and mind with the opportunity to release anxieties and physically root yourself to the earth.
The root chakra, in particular, is based entirely on how our bodies are connected to the earth and acts as a natural energy pathway. Through the root, base chakra (pulling from the earth through the feet and into the lower spine), the body maintains an entry point for universal energies and sustains a healthy foundation for your bodily function.
It’s not surprising that, with this concept in mind, Chinese tradition holds a heavy focus on strengthening and sustaining this root point. Earth Qi represents the patterns of energy and the earth’s magnetic field that we are surrounded by. Many exercises that are meant to strengthen the body and mind, including yoga, are done barefoot. A central practice within Chinese tradition includes the growing of a “root”. The Kidney 1 point (also known as the “yong quan point”) involves the opening of a conduit and connection between the earth’s surface and a person’s feet/body.
With yoga as a grounding mechanism, you’re forced to rely on both your mental focus and connection to the earth in order to sustain a balance. A few poses that are particularly helpful in grounding (both mentally and physically) include:
Downward Facing Dog
Child’s Pose (an all-time favorite)
The Earth Connection
If yoga isn’t always an option given your hectic schedule, don’t worry – there are other options. What’s most important to remember is that grounding is what works for you. Just because the downward dog is what grounds your neighbor, that doesn’t mean it’s the only option out there.
While grounding is partly psychological, it’s also physical and can be done very easily by stepping outside. Our bodies desperately yearn for a healthy connection to nature and to the earth. This connection is what nurtures us, it keeps us alive and energized. More importantly, this connection with nature reminds us what an immaculate world we have around us. As humans, we spend far too much time insulated in our synthetic environments and disconnected from the outside world. This disconnect poses significant risks to our health and wellbeing.
Establishing that root, absorbing the earth’s energies and grounding yourself is done most easily when barefoot.
Recent studies and medical professionals have begun to identify the scientific benefits of this Earthing practice. By creating a direct connection to the earth (going barefoot), your body is able to absorb the Earth’s limitless supply of free electrons. These electrons, studies suggest, act as antioxidants by stabilizing and neutralizing harmful free radicals associated with inflammation, injury and/or toxicity.
Various industries have begun to take notice as well, creating various Earthing products to maintain this sort of connection, producing earthing or grounding products designed to help our bodies regain natural balance and stability on a molecular level. In particular, earthing shoes have recently entered the realms of medical study and footwear production.
Author: David Gelfand