Unsteady or Uprooted? 12 Ways to Ground in Yoga
Photo by NEW|photography
A grounded yoga practice focused on foundations and the first chakra (root chakra or Muladhara) can be just the balm to soothe and support personal growth through life’s transitions. Being firmly grounded brings a sense of balance and ease as it helps manage stress and overwhelming moments. A physical root chakra yoga practice focuses on rooting down firmly through the feet and legs while an energetic root chakra practice involves examining your inner foundation. As you practice, you’ll notice how your foundation changes. In this guide we’ve included poses and tips to help you stay grounded with yoga.
Poses for grounding:
- Mountain pose (Tadasana): Use this pose to set the foundation for other standing poses. Stand with your feet hip distance apart; point your toes and knees straight ahead. Press down evenly through all four corners of the feet: the big toe mound, little toe mound, and either side of the heel. Lift the arches. Engage the thighs. Activate the low abdominals located below the belly button. Visualize roots extending from your feet into the ground beneath you, holding you steady.
- Warrior 1 and 2 (Virabhadrasana 1 and 2): Continue the actions you set up with Mountain pose. Focus on stacking the joints, keeping your knee over your ankle and lifting the arch by pressing the outer edge of the back standing leg to the mat. When you’re comfortable with the actions in your feet and legs, try closing your eyes. Removing the gaze will shift your focus even deeper into grounding through the legs and feet.
- Seated poses: In seated poses such as Easy pose (Sukhasana), root down through your sitting bones.
- Prone poses: In prone poses like Sphinx pose (Salamba Bhujangasana), press the pubic bone to the mat and engage the low abdominals like you did in your standing poses.
- Arm balances and inversions: Explore shifting your foundation to the hands and forearms. If you have wrist pain, check out this graphic or try poses on the forearms, like Low Plank (Ardha Phalakasana), where you stack shoulders over elbows and press equally into both forearms.
- Reclined poses: Find your foundation through the shoulders, shoulder blades, upper back, and in some cases the hips or feet.
Tips for grounding:
- Just as your foundation flows throughout practice, your non-physical foundation may change throughout your life. Explore and question your identity, beliefs and traditions. If you feel disconnected, insecure or uprooted then examine what root chakra issues might be undermining the stability of your foundation.
- To balance the root chakra, try this meditation.
- The root chakra is directly related to feelings of security and stability. Routines help people feel safe and secure because they are predictable and comfortable. To build feelings of security, work on a daily yoga asana, pranayama and meditation routine.
- Build your mind/body connection through your asana, pranayama, and meditation practices. Getting in touch with your own body and mind is the first step to being more present and in touch with the world and people around you.
- Take your practice outside. Earth is the element associated with the root chakra. Practicing barefoot in the grass not only connects you deeper to the world but also adds an extra grounding boost.
- Try partner yoga. Partner yoga helps ground you through physical touch and connects you to the friends and family you practice with. It builds trust and love.
Next time you feel uprooted, try a few of these practices. Leave a comment to let us know what practices you tried and how they helped. What are other practices you do to stay grounded?