These 9 yoga moves can help you to ground both physically and mentally.
If you practice yoga on a regular basis, you’ve likely heard the term “grounded” in class before. But what exactly does it mean? Grounding basically refers to an overall state of well-being. You can ground yourself by focusing on connecting your body with the earth in your yoga poses. This allows you to correct the imbalance created by your daily stresses and busy schedule.
The nine yoga poses below will allow you to ground yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally, so you can feel much more balanced and stable each and every day. Try them out!
By Elisha Thompson
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Sit in a comfortable seated position. Ensure that your spine is straight and roll your shoulders down your back. Rest your left hand on your left knee or lap. Bring your index and middle finger of your right hand into a “peace sign” and either fold them into your palm or rest them on the bridge of your nose. Place your thumb gently on your right nostril and your ring and pinky fingers onto your left nostril. Begin with an exhale out of both nostrils. Close your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril. Pause for a moment. Close your left nostril with your ring and pinky fingers. Release the right nostril and exhale through it. Pause for a moment. Inhale through the right nostril. Close the right nostril with your thumb. Pause, Release your left nostril and exhale through it.
Find a comfortable seat with the soles of your feet on the floor. Place your hands on your upper shins. On your inhale, roll toward the front of your pelvis, drawing your heart forward and your gaze towards the sky. On your exhale, rock to the back of your pelvis, rounding your spine and releasing your chin towards your chest.
Stand with your feet either hip-width distance apart or with the big toes touching and your heels slightly apart. Spread your toes wide. Engage your quadriceps by lifting your kneecaps up the thighs. Draw in your navel towards your spine. Send your shoulder blades down your back. Tuck your tailbone so you aren’t sticking your booty out.
From Table Top pose, extend your hips to the sky. Hands should be shoulder distance apart and your feet should be hip distance apart. Spread your fingers out wide. Root down through the base of your thumb and forefinger. Rotate your heels slightly outward. Engage your quadriceps and drop your heels toward the mat. Tuck your chin so you are looking at the knee caps but ensure your spine is straight.
From Mountain Pose, step back with the left foot and place it at a 90 degree angle. Bend deep into the right (front) knee and stack it directly over your ankle. Align your heels (align with your back heel or the center of your front arch). Ground the blade of your back foot into the mat and avoid dumping into the arch of the foot. Avoid allowing the front knee to rotate inward. Instead, press is slightly toward the pinky toe edge of your foot. Engage both quadriceps. Roll your shoulder blades down your back and extend both arms out with the eyes of your elbows facing skyward. Pull your navel in towards your spine and slightly tuck in the tailbone. Square off your chest and shoulders with your hips and gaze at the tips of your front fingers. Start over and practice Warrior II on your second side.
From Warrior II, shorten your stance slightly and straighten the front leg. Check to ensure that your heels are aligned and that your back foot is at a 45-degree angle toward the front of your mat. Lean forward from the hips and begin to angle downwards so that your front hand comes to your shin, foot, a block or the floor. Engage your quadriceps on both legs and pull your navel towards the spine to protect the lower back. Don’t forget to practice Triangle Pose on the other side.
This is a deep posture; ensure that your body is adequately warmed up before coming into this pose. From a wide-legged seated position, bend your knees with your feet flexed. Extend your chest and arms forward and down between your legs. Aim to bring your arms under your knees and to straighten your legs by pushing out through the heels. Tuck the chin to the chest and pull your navel towards the spine. Bend from the hips – use your hands to pull you forward if needed and try to get lower on each exhale. Spread the front of your chest and collarbones forward and down toward the floor.
From Downward Facing Dog, lift your right leg to the sky. Bring your right knee to meet your right wrist and let your shin fall across the top of your mat (either at an angle or parallel to the top of your mat). Flex your front foot to protect the knee. Make sure that the leg extended behind you is in one long line and that all five toenails are pressing into the mat. Square your hips and your torso to the front of your mat. If you feel comfortable thus far, hinge your torso forward toward the ground. Start over and practice Pigeon Pose on your second side.
Lay on your back on your mat. Release your ujjayi pranayama breath, now is the time to relax and do nothing. Allow your feet to roll out towards the sides of your mat. Stretch your arms out beside you, palms facing up. Be in the present moment.
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All images courtesy of Elisha Thompson.