As you settle in to 2021, do you still feel a little… unsettled?
A new year doesn’t always come with a fresh start, or even a fresh perspective. Maybe you have a short list of intentions you’ve set, and you’re still looking for ways to focus on these and let go of mental clutter or harmful attachments – but you need to feel grounded to even consider getting started.
This is where your yoga practice comes in. Research suggests there is a scientific connection between the mind and the body, which means your physical and emotional health are intimately linked. Practicing yoga has a calming, balancing, and strengthening effect on the body, which ultimately has a positive impact on the mind.
If you need to feel more grounded as the year progresses, your yoga mat is a good place to start. There are several poses you can practice for grounding – whether in a studio class, virtually with an instructor, or on your own.
Often referred to as the blueprint posture for your physical practice, mountain pose is much more than “just standing” – when practiced intentionally it allows you to feel rooted to the earth beneath you and cultivate a feeling of grounding.
To practice mountain pose, stand with your big toes touching and a sliver of space between your heels, your arms at your sides with palms open to receive. You might close down your eyes so you can feel the connection between the soles of your feet and your mat. Breathe slowly and evenly in and out of your nose and focus on engaging supportive muscle groups in your body, beginning with your legs and moving up through your core. Allow your shoulders to relax. Stay here as long as you need to feel connected and rooted to the ground under your feet.
Downward-facing dog is the yoga pose everyone has seen at some point, whether in a movie or a beginner yoga class. This pose gives the practitioner four points of contact with the earth, allowing you to feel both stable and strong as you hold and breathe.
Downward-facing dog is typically approached from an all-fours, or tabletop, position. Tuck your toes and draw the low abdomen in to lift your hips up as you press your chest toward your thighs, creating an inverted v-shape in your body. Allow your heels to get heavy, draw your rib cage and belly in, and relax your head and neck. Take several breaths, paying attention to the connection of your hands and feet to your mat.
Bridge pose is a belly-up backbend that’s often used as part of a cooldown in a yoga practice. This gentle heart opener involves lifting of the pelvis to create space across the frontline of your body while your head, shoulders, and feet remain grounded to your mat.
To practice bridge pose, start laying on your back with your knees bent and feet hips’ width apart, arms resting by your sides, with your heels close enough to your glutes that your fingertips can barely touch them. Use an inhale breath to lift your hips toward the sky and stay lifted while breathing slowly in and out of your nose.
Practice Consistently to Feel Grounded
Mountain, downward-facing dog, and bridge are among many poses that can be practiced daily to help you feel more connected to the earth and yourself. To cultivate a stronger mind-body connection, consistency is key – even 10-15 minutes of practice every day will encourage better physical and mental well-being during unsettling times.
Whether you choose to practice independently at home or in a studio, we offer a variety of yoga mats, props, clothing, and other essentials to support your grounding practice. If you have questions about your practice or anything yoga-related, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.