Monday, March 30, 2015

Yoga Poses for Getting Grounded

Photo by Cait Loper.

Are you feeling overwhelmed, uninspired, or scatterbrained? Maybe you’re processing changes in your life or worrying about something that’s out of your comfort zone?

Try a few minutes of yoga today, to help get grounded.

Photo by Cait Loper. 
Mountain Pose
Place your feet at hips width distance. Ground down onto all four corners of your feet. Notice the weight of your body pouring down into the earth, and the little rebound of energy that comes back up through the soles of your feet. A slight bend in your knees, shoulders back and down. Breathe deeply in and out through the nose. Once you feel you have established your presence in your practice space, play with reaching your arms overhead, inviting energy down in the fingertips, through the body, and into the feet.

Child’s Pose
Take your knees wide on your mat. Bring the big toes together to touch. Let the hips rest back over your heels, and slowly bring the forehead down to the mat. If this feels uncomfortable in your body, you can use a pillow or a blanket over the heels, or even under the abdomen, to cushion your body. Become present to the sound of your breath. Deepen the inhales and exhales, settling down, noticing where you can soften. Stay for 10 breaths.

 Photos by LucidReflections.

Place the wrists under the shoulders, and knees under the hips. Take a moment to look down and see if your shoulders are truly over the wrists; if they’re too far back, shift your weight forward a bit. Spread the fingertips wide. Feel the hands grounding, the knuckles under the pointer fingers and the pinky fingers touching the mat. You could not slide a piece of paper under the palm; it’s that connected to your mat. On your exhale, press the floor away, round your spine, look in at your belly (cat pose). On your inhale, your belly drops down, shoulders drawn down the back, gaze peeks up (cow pose). Keep moving slowly between Cat and Cow, noticing how the breath initiates your movement. After a few minutes here, take a big breath in through your nose, and then open your mouth and sigh it out. Let something go.

Goddess Pose
Place the feet at mat’s width distance (wider than your hips), with your heels in and your toes out. Sink low, settling the hips down toward the ground (if you don’t have this flexibility in your hips, you can also bring more muscular energy into the thighs, more like a squat). If you’re in full Goddess, shift some weight into your heels. Bring the hands together in front of your heart, and create a little updog in your chest. Chin lifts a little, press the elbows into the outer shins to widen across the chest. Close down your eyes; gaze in at the third eye. Breathe normally here, 8 to 10 breaths.

Lay down on your back. Plant your feet on the mat at hips width distance. Gaze straight up at the ceiling, tuck the chin in a little to flatten the back of the neck on the floor. Press down into your feet and inhale your hips up off the mat. You may start to work your hands together under the body, interlacing the fingers, creating a base with the forearms so that you can press more into the mat to raise your hips up. Notice the backbend originating from the upper back (chest); don’t worry about crunching upward or shoving your hips—let the glutes be soft, feet pressing firmly into the mat. Focus on your Ujjayi breath at the throat. Notice where you can soften. Find your fullest expression of the pose and stay for 8 to 10 breaths, then lower slowly back down.

Photo by Justin Kral.

Lay down on your back, finding corpse pose. Legs go long down the mat, arms by your sides, palms facing up. Press the back of your skull into the mat and notice how that’s like a reset button for the rest of your body. Let the spine sink down; feel the whole body become heavy and relaxed. Close your eyes. Let go of the breath. Relax.


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