I start my classes and sessions the same way I start my day. With grounding. What is it and why is it so important?
Grounding Brings Us Into The Here & Now
When students first arrive to class they are mostly in their heads. "Am I late?" "Oh, the traffic tonight was a beast!" "Is this the right space?" "What is everyone else wearing?" "After this, I have to do x, y, and z" You've been there, I'm sure. We all have.
In fact, we are in this state most of the time! It is how we get through our days. The constant TO DO list, the barrage of thoughts about the past and the future. It is exhausting. It is also an alternative reality. We are disconnected from our bodies. We are disconnected from the here and now. When our minds spiral in this mode repeatedly, we can easily become unstable. We may not react the way we wish. We may not get the most out of what we have come to receive. We may leave feeling empty handed. We are stressed. We are anxious. We have handed over our power.
As our mind gets wrapped up in all of the thoughts, our bodies follow. We tense up to hold ourselves up. We tense up to keep it together. To appear to be in our power. We push ourselves forward. We are rarely living without these tensions. They then appear as tight muscles. Aches and pains. Lack of sleep. Frazzled nerves. Dis-ease and disease. Our stress response is always on. Over time that will take a toll on our health and naturally, our happiness.
Connecting with our breath. Just becoming aware of it is how I start each class. Start each day by acknowledging your breathing. Just observe. When you feel the panic of the day set in. Come back here. Listen.
The First Chakra - Where We Begin
The first chakra, or energy wheel, in our bodies is the Root Chakra (Muladhara). This is where all of our healing begins. It is our connection with Mother Earth. It is what keeps us humble, aware, connected to our bodies, and gives us the ability to survive. An often misconception about spiritual practices is that it is all about reaching enlightenment. While we do want our upper chakras open to receive love and expanded intuition, what good is it if our base is closed and unable to hold? As spring approaches and we come out of winter, seeds must be planted before they sprout. Our minds need to be grounded before we can bloom as well. The first step in healing is to accept our bodies. Feel it. Validate it. Love it. This means feeling the pain, the guilt, the sadness. Feel what you are feeling. Acknowledge it. Learn from it. Then start to grow.
On the mat, we root down to rise up. I start my classes with grounding poses, often literally close to the ground before we do standing poses. When we do stand up, we acknowledge our feet (or hands) what ever is on the mat rooting down. Then we lift up into the full expression of the pose. In restorative, we stay near the ground the whole time. Which is why it is so healing. In a breathwork session, we honor the Earth Mother, we feel connected to her wisdom to help us release our blocked emotions. We feel safe to take the next step. Our body is the home to our soul. The earth, the ground, is home to our bodies.
Take time each day to feel connected. Meditate, do breathwork, get on your mat. Go for a walk in the park or the woods. Take a designated break from the computers and devices. Remember the greater parts of what you are connected to. Acknowledge your accomplishments and put your To Do List away. Just for a moment. As you practice this, it gets easier. With all practices, it will be there to hold us when the discomfort and stress arrives.