When we lose our ground, our attention wanders from the present moment, and we appear to be "not all there." In this state, we feel powerless and, like a vicious cycle, may no longer want to be here...Grounding protects the body from being overloaded by the tensions of everyday life. - Anodea Judith, Wheels of Life
Spring is here, and with it the opportunity once more to feel the earth beneath your feet.
In the age of flight, we hardly give our easy access to flying a second thought. Flying metaphors abound. "Flying" is a metaphor for anything light, fast, foolish or emotional. We "fly" around when we're in a hurry. We take "flights of fancy" when we imagine things not yet real. We denote as "airy-fairy" anything that seems foolish. If our "heads are in the clouds," we are drifting away from reality. We "walk on air" and our spirits "soar" when we're happy. We "fly off the handle" when we're angry.
The very act of flying suggests instability. Have you ever been in a jumbo jet and wondered what is keeping it up? I have! (It's better not to think about it.) Metaphorically, if we are to lift off and fly safely, we need to have a stable base. And in our culture, that is often the missing piece. Our bodies are designed to root, just as our minds are to soar. If we spend too much time "flying" around we may "crash" from exhaustion.
Our lives have gradually disconnected us from the earth. For many of us, air travel superseded train travel a long time ago. We spend a lot of time ungrounded. We wear shoes, which can disconnect us from the Earth's energy. We spend less and less time outdoors. When was the last time you dared to go barefoot in the park?
Lack of grounding increases instability and pain. Chronic pain disconnects us from the body. With attention focused on pain, we can lose touch with the actual sensations in the body, and become more focused on the emotions and story surrounding the pain - e.g., "I'm afraid to stand because my back always hurts when I stand up."
The beauty of a yoga practice is that it is designed to balance the soaring with the grounding. By finding our feet and rooting into the earth, the Earth's subtle energy flows into the body. The earth gives us energy when we step on it firmly - called Ground Reaction Force. Connecting into the Earth with strong feet and legs allows us to feel calmer, and connects us to our lower body which is a source of strength and energy. It strengthens the deep core. Grounding gives us stability and confidence. And it can reduce pain.
What helps you to feel grounded?
Donna offers a holistic perspective on the relationship and healing of physical and emotional pain.