What Does It Mean To Be Grounded?

being grounded“For a tree to become tall it must grow tough roots among the rocks.” Friedrich Nietzsche

In a yoga class you will often hear the teacher speak about “grounding yourself/ sitting bones/ feet/hands” to the floor, but what does it mean and why is it important?

To be grounded means you are experiencing your connection to the earth. Your awareness is in the contact points of your body with the floor. You are not so much in your mind but more in body awareness.

When we are more in our bodies than our minds it means we are more in the present moment. Our minds easily fluctuate between the past and the future. Ruminating about what has happened and potentially anxious about what may happen, or maybe excited! Either way we are not in the moment.

Why is it so important to be in the moment? This is where life is happening! We only ever have right now and what you do in this moment creates the next. What has happened in the past has gone and any worries about the future is energy spent on something that may not even happen yet. Even if it does you will deal with it in the moment.

The earth is a stable, protective, solid, calming energy. When we experience our connection with it our minds calm, we are able to feel a sense of security and confidence.

Do you ever have days where you are totally caught up in your mind, flitting from one thought to the next, barely aware of what is happening right now in front of you. This can exhaust the nervous system, it can make it very hard to focus on one thing at a time or make sure you are really being 100% you in everything you do. Actions can be taken with out really thinking or with awareness of if they are the best ones to take. Sleep can be disturbed.

When you start your day feeling grounded it’s easier to experience clear thinking and taking action with awareness of what is best for you and others through out the day. It helps you to feel stable in the here and now.

If you catch yourself through out the day in a head spin, just taking a few moments to feel your feet on the floor, your sitting bones on the chair (if seated), will help your mind to calm. Going outdoors and actually feeling the earth beneath your feet is great, but can be a bit harder to do in the winter when it’s cold. Still touching the earth with your hands has the same effect. I like to pick pebbles up on the beach to bring my awareness to the ground.

In any yoga posture feeling grounded is the first essential element to consider. In standing poses your base, your connection with the floor is where you find your balance and pull your energy from to energise your upper body. A weak base will cause you to topple.

In the forward bends and supine twists you can use the floor or to yield to, to release, to soften down. In back bends the energy from connecting with the floor helps to extend your spine.

In all postures, being grounded brings you into the moment. Into your body. Leaving what ever is going on in your life aside just for the time you are practising. Then once your practice is over you will be able to approach life with a new perspective.

Isn’t yoga wonderful 🙂