EASY YOGA POSES FOR GROUNDING (NO PROPS NEEDED!)
From a young age (and with good reason), we're told to reach up and out to meet our goals, to dream big and to think broadly. This sort of limitless thinking drives our lives forward, taking us from one stage to the next. We can be happy with our achievements, whether they're in academics, families, fitness and communities.
But having a goal-oriented life can also leave us ungrounded, with a head in the clouds and wheels spinning, ambling for direction. When we spend a lot of time in our heads, it takes us out of the present time.
The quickest way back to the earth is to sense it below you, supporting you. We can find groundedness many ways, but here I'll suggest a few easy yoga poses.
You can round out your practice by warming up with a few surya namaskara A (sun salutation A) sequences and one or two paschimottanasanas (seated forward folds) before you take savasana (resting pose). You can also take these poses one by one, and fit them into your day.
Start out on your back with knees bent and the soles of the feet together. Allow the knees to fall open. Place one hand on the belly and one hand on the heart. Breathe into these spaces, allowing the belly and the chest to press back up into the hands.
Feel the places your body makes contact with the earth — the sacrum, shoulders, upper back, head and feet. Feel the ground supporting you, while maintaining a natural curve of the spine.
Stand with feet wider than hip distance apart, toes pointed forward. Allow for a generous bend in the knees, making sure not to lock the joints, especially in this moving pose. Inhale, the arms up over head, bending at the elbows, and exhale, allow gravity to pull the upper body forward and down, with the arms swinging back by the hips. With the next inhale, swing back up to a standing position, and repeat. Take the motion as slowing as your body needs.
This pose, while a bit unconventional, has an incredible grounding effect. What better way to feel the ground beneath you than to press right into it?
Start out in a wide-legged stance. Point the right foot out to the side, perpendicular to the left foot. Bend into the right knee while straightening the left leg, coming into a lunge pose. Balance weight between the two feet and engage the lower abs and pelvic floor. When your body feels steady and strong, raise the arms to a T-shape, with the gaze over the right middle finger.
Stay for a few breaths, and when you're ready, straighten the right leg, turning the toes forward, and move to the left side.
The virabhadrasana (warrior pose) series is so canonical in the yoga practice, and for good reason. They're both grounding and buoyant, requiring your present mind and strength.
From a wide-legged stance, point the right toes out to the side body. The stride should be shorter than vira II. Keeping a microbend in both knees, inhale arms to a T-shape, and reach forward and down with the right hand. Place the back the of the right hand on the shin or thigh, encouraging the heart to open to the sky. Reach up with the left hand.
Inhale up with arms in a T-shape, turn the toes and reach out and down for the left side.
Trikonasana is an evolving pose. Get big, turn the heart up to the sky, engage the core. This pose will always shift in small ways. Let it be alive.
If child's pose is something that is comforting in your practice, take a few breaths there. When you're ready, lie on your back, backs of the hands on the ground, with length in the back of the neck. Feel the places where the body makes contact with the ground under you. Return your attention to the breath.
Let me know how this goes! What are your favorite grounding poses?