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Grounding Exercises

Image by Merri J

Grounding to the Earth

In the field of somatic psychology, the concept of grounding is associated with the conscious recognition of our physical existence. It implies your capacity to be aware of your bodily sensations, perceive your feet's contact with the earth, and thereby induce tranquility in your nervous system.

In yoga philosophy, grounding is recognized as a conscious act of establishing an energetic connection with the earth to find balance and stability. It encompasses physical practices which promote a sustainable relationship with nature, thereby anchoring us in the present moment and balancing daily life.

Grounding is a critical tool in healing from trauma and managing emotional turbulence. A straightforward grounding technique is to stand barefoot outdoors and focus on your physical sensations. Envision the earth acting as an absorbent medium, taking in any tension and allowing it to dissipate from your body in a downward direction. This process, termed "Earthing" by Clint Ober, is supported by his research indicating that grounding can alleviate inflammation, discomfort, and stress.

"Grounding encourages you to be mindful of your body, recognize your patterns of tension, and yield the heaviness of your physical form to gravity, feeling the earth's support. As a coping mechanism for trauma recovery, grounding can assist in restoring a feeling of security, anchoring you in the present moment, and boosting your resilience."

Grounding into the Senses

Your five senses (auditory, visual, olfactory, gustatory, and tactile) can assist you in maintaining a focus on the present moment. One simple exercise includes identifying five items you observe, four sounds you perceive, three objects you can physically feel, two aromas you can detect, and then taking a single deep, measured breath. By consciously amplifying your sensory engagement, you can shift your awareness. For instance, consume a piece of a tart apple in a deliberate, mindful manner and take note of its texture, its taste, and your resulting sensations.

Grounding into Gravity

Grounding exercises concentrate on both the physical and emotional elements of yielding to gravity. You may start by lying down, releasing your weight into the areas where you touch the ground, observing your relaxation and assessing your sense of safety, and acknowledging any emotions that surface during the practice.

Gradually, you can enhance this grounding routine by learning to surrender your weight to gravity even while standing, and ultimately during mindful, slow walking. Maintain soft knees, and with each step, be aware of the rise and fall of your feet. Stay attuned to your feelings and bodily sensations as you move, and if you find yourself detaching, slow your pace and regain your equilibrium in stillness.

Grounding in Yoga

Restorative yoga, particularly the practice of Yoga Nidra, serves as a counterbalance to our hectic lifestyles by soothing the nervous system. Settle into a relaxing posture, typically lying down, and focus on bodily awareness and breath, acknowledging any discomfort or tension. Aim for 30 minutes of stillness for an enriching and calming experience.

 

Furthermore, the "Legs-up-the-Wall" pose (Viparita Karani) offers a rejuvenating reset, particularly beneficial if prolonged standing has led to fluid accumulation in your lower limbs. This posture, find a wall in a quiet space where you can rest. Position your hips on a folded blanket or yoga block near a wall and extending your legs upward, allowing your body to release and be receptive.. This posture aids lymphatic drainage and stress reduction. For maximum relaxation, maintain this pose for 5 to 20 minutes. 

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