Exploring ways to ground can help us ditch chaos for calm
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a daydreamer. Blankly staring out of windows as I contemplate the future, and wondering if the blue sky I see is the same as your blue – or maybe you see green when I see blue? This natural, child-like inclination towards dreaminess evolved into something murkier over time, as innocent qualities often do. These days, I can get so caught up in my thoughts that I forget to feel my feet on the ground. Swept up in the neuroses, I can’t sense my centre, only the whirs and hums in my head, and even they feel disjointed and unclear – a cacophony of noises that drown each other out, like insects in the night.
World chaos, work, kids, and life’s many responsibilities can create the perfect storm for becoming stuck in your head and out of your body. But to spend your life fully, completely and authentically, you must find ways to come back to the present and back to your Self, despite whatever blizzards are blowing around you.
I’m not the only one searching for solidity. Grounding is now an actual, formal practice that involves exploring ways to connect to the earth’s electricity – by placing your bare skin on the ground or immersing yourself in water. Studies show that this practice has astounding physical and mental benefits, such as strengthening the immune system, reducing muscle damage, and improving mood and sleep.
In yoga philosophy, the root chakra (Muladhara), located at the base of the spine, is said to be responsible for our sense of safety and security. Balancing Muladhara can help us create a foundation from which to evolve physically and spiritually. You can create harmony in this part of the energetic body by indulging in activities that allow you to ground. Earthing yoga practices that bring your attention into the lower body, meditations and visualisations that focus on the philosophies of the root chakra, and other activities that invite a sense of safety, grounding and connection to the earth. By creating a healthy root chakra, you can feel a greater sense of connection to Self, and release emotions like stress and fear.
For me, grounding comes when having a cup of tea with my chickens, taking my dog for a walk in nature, practicing yin yoga or picking bindis from my front lawn (trust me, it’s very meditative!). These things all help me to find a sense of connection with the earth, and to sort through the thoughts until clarity emerges. Kind of like letting my blue heeler run wild until he stops, puffing and panting, finally able to take in the beautiful world around him.
A root chakra balancing meditation
- Prepare a pen and paper for the end of the exercise (or skip the journaling part if you’re short on time).
- Find a comfortable space to sit or lie down. Be as close to the earth as possible and, if lying down, bend your knees and place your feet on the ground.
- Close your eyes and tune into your breath.
- Bring your attention to the base of your spine and imagine sending slow, full breaths all the way down.
- Start to tune into your centre of gravity, sensing a subtle current from your base chakra down into the earth.
- Imagine a red, glowing light at the base of your spine (Muladhara chakra is the colour red). As you inhale, feel the light growing bigger and brighter. As you exhale, imagine the light getting a little smaller as it settles back into its nest.
- Continue like this, allowing excess tension to drain into the ground and your thoughts to quieten.
- When you feel ready, open your eyes, find your pen and paper and jot down some answers to (some or all of) the following questions:
- How often, and how, do I connect with nature?
- How is my physical health?
- How is my relationship with work and money?
- Do I feel I have a right to be here on this earth?
Once complete, sit for a little while longer observing your thoughts and breath.
Get grounded: Tried and tested ways to find your centre
Embrace Mother Nature
No matter where you are, there’s a patch of nature to explore. You might walk through the forest, dip your toes in the ocean, or simply sit by a window and feel the sun on your skin.
Notice how kids love taking their shoes off? It’s such a beautiful instinct and something that promises to connect us to the earth instantly.
Take a walk, dance in your loungeroom, play hide and seek with your kids or chase your cat around the house. Bodies are a part of nature, and we are made to move.
Gratitude is an essential daily practice for me, and I swear it has kept me sane amidst the greatest calamities of my life. Personally I habit-stack by reciting 10 things I feel grateful for each morning while I shower. The perfect way to start the day!
Let your thoughts run wild and release them by putting pen to paper. You might have a daily journaling practice or just jot down some notes on your phone when you’re feeling overwhelmed to clear your messy mind.
Take a leaf off your basil plant and eat it right away, indulge in a bowl of root vegetables or enjoy some fruit from your local farmer’s market. When you do eat, think about where your food came from and all the energy that went into its journey to your plate, enjoy the sensation of the taste on your tongue and allow yourself to be fully present in the activity.
Look in front of you and see what’s there. Is it a dog barking incessantly because he’s ready for his second walk (or is that just me?)? A child asking for your attention? A to-do list begging to be attended to? Whatever is there, can you be fully with it? Life is full of interruptions to our plans. You may find less stress and resistance, and more connection and grounding, by simply going with the flow.
Words by Jessica Humphries for Being magazine