Grounding is one of the best benefits of a yoga practice. Molly Furzer explains why…
One of the most overlooked yet important benefits of practising the yoga asanas (poses) is grounding. The term “grounding” or “grounded” refers to a sense of connection with the earth below you; a feeling of being supported by the earth and universe; a feeling of being part of the wider “family” (the people, animals and plants on this planet).
Essentially, the overall practice of yoga (asanas, meditation, pranayama, ethics, morals, service, etc) is to bring you into connection with the Divine source (whatever you may call that). Being connected to the Divine is said to be a blissful state (in yoga, it’s called samadhi).[This is where I’ll get a bit spiritual, so if you find it hard to take, skip to the next paragraph.] We all are spirits in bodies. A way to think about it is that when you die you drop your body, or as some call it, your suit. You return to the Divine, where you came from, and then, depending on your earthly assignments, return for another go in this world. And it happens again and again in lots of different suits until you learn your lessons. But I digress…
Not being in the Divine feels like something really big and lovely is missing from us. So back on earth, the opposite of feeling bliss is feeling separation. This feeling of separation can get exaggerated if we are not living life in a way that is connected to the ebb and flow of the tides, the call of the sun and moon, and respecting the earth and all its living things. A pretty common state to live in for city-dwellers!
Separation plays out as a feeling of being unsupported and disconnected from others. You may be thinking more than feeling, and spend a lot of time in your head, rather than your body… you are not grounded.
If you are feeling aspects of separation in this context, you can overcome this by practising more grounding yoga poses, such as those in which you lie on your back, and standing poses in which you cultivate a strong sense of connection with the earth below.
If you live in the city and feel disconnected from nature, you can reconnect by going on bushwalks or spending time at a nice beach, for example. Look around and appreciate the trees, the ocean, the animals, and so on. Walking barefoot and feeling the earth, sand or grass beneath your feet is a lovely sensation that also grounds you. Or you can spend time with your pet, really being present with it and observing everything about your interactions with it.
Additionally, you can practice the yamas and niyamas (ethics and morals of yoga, as told by Patanjali, an Indian sage from a long, long time ago). These are simple things that your mum probably taught you, like: don’t gossip, don’t judge, don’t steal others work, don’t be greedy or selfish. Instead, try to be of service to others, speak and think kindly of yourself and others, pray for the peace and safety for all living things.
Judgement is one of the key signs of separation. If you judge others a lot, expect to be judged as well. It’s something we can train our minds not to do. When you catch your mind sussing someone out, just stop right there and choose to be open minded. In other words, choose love not hate.
And we come back to love again, which is the Divine, which is bliss. Always work towards bliss!
Molly Furzer has been practising yoga since 1999 and teaching since 2007. She teaches gentle yoga to adults and Kids & Family Yoga in the Rainbow Kids Yoga method. She also leads Laughter Yoga classes and offers Intuitive Healing.