Here's What Being "Grounded" Really Means (and 5 Yoga Poses to Get You There)

Photo:

Courtesy of Amanda McMorran

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you’re probably familiar with the word "grounding." But what exactly does it mean? It’s one of those esoteric terms used so readily by yoga teachers that we sometimes forget its significance. In yoga, the word serves as both an adjective (describing a centered, grounded feeling) and a verb (to physically ground down).

Physical grounding is all about finding a solid connection with the earth through bringing awareness into your body. You need to stop and take time to notice how your feet and hands feel when they make contact with the floor so that you can build a strong foundation for Asana, for example.

Grounding is about achieving equanimity by redirecting energy downward, which can feel strange or even a little backward at first. We are conditioned from a young age to aspire to up-ness (“Grow up!” or “Wake up!”). Learning to come back down to the earth pulls us into our physical experience of the here and now and helps us live in the moment.

Feeling grounded is essential, not just physically but psychologically. Most of us spend too much time in our heads (or on our phones!). This results in a lot of energy being focused upward into the mind, which causes an imbalance and makes us feel scattered or overwhelmed. Psychological grounding means occupying the present moment with a sense of calm despite any chaos or noise swirling around you. It will help you return to the big picture by connecting with something larger than yourself.

Life is all about balance. The act of grounding reestablishes our connection to the earth so that we feel supported. It encourages us to stop overthinking and fully inhabit our bodies. In short, grounding is about being rather than thinking.

Below are a few simple yoga poses that will help you to quiet your mind so that you can learn to live in the moment.