On Grounding

When we think of grounding, we often think of feeling physically connected to the earth or to the surface below us--a very comforting feeling, for sure. There is a lot to be said for feeling the solid ground below your feet. However, there is more to grounding than feeling that physical connection. 

You can be grounded wherever you are right in your own body whether you are in the ocean, on an airplane, or in space (not sure how many astronauts read my blog, but you get the point). I have found through my own personal practice that there are two keys to this: 

1. Breath

Basic Muladhara symbol from sunnyray.org

Basic Muladhara symbol from sunnyray.org

2. Muladhara/Mulabandha

Breath? Okay. Check! Mula...what? Let's actually go over the weird one first. Muladhara is your base chakra. Mula = root, dhara = support/foundation. Chakras are energy centers in the body. Your root chakra is located at the very base of your spine. This is an important chakra for grounding because when this energy center is moving freely, we feel more connected to ourselves--physically and emotionally (or spiritually). I sometimes like to think of it in construction terms--it is the groundwork that needs to be laid in order for me to work on the rest of the building (all the way up to the top floor). Chakras.net has a really nice description, too: 

"Everyone admires the leaves and flowers of a plant, but hardly anyone takes any notice of the roots that lie hidden in the darkness of the earth. But the roots form the basis of the vegetation. From the sustenance received from the roots the sprout gains the power to penetrate the dark soil, grow upwards towards the sun and produce flowers, fruit and seeds."

One of the many ways this energy center can be tapped into is through Mulabandha, the root lock (bandh = lock). The root lock can be engaged by squeezing the inner thighs toward each other and lifting the muscles of the pelvic floor up and in toward the body, kind of like advanced kegel exercises (we can all think of other departments where these could come in handy). Strengthening this area of the body by more regularly engaging it will help you feel stronger and more connected to yourself.  Essentially learning how to find grounding and comfort within your own body--finding your own solid base (without the help of any other physical platform). 

Now let's add the all-powerful, life sustaining breath to the mix. Just take deep breaths :) through your nose. That's it! The root chakra is often represented by the color red. I like to imagine this color as a bright red light at the base of my spine and with every inhale, I breathe deep into my body and let the color grow brighter and stronger and with every exhale, I imagine the light circulating the base of body--it's warm, comforting, and grounding. 

This exercise of engaging the root of your body and finding your breath could be a 20 minute meditation or 5 seconds while you gather yourself at your next holiday party. With enough practice, you can start to feel grounded anywhere because you will find the sensation within your own body. 

At your next seasonal soiree or family gathering, notice if you are staying grounded and true to yourself and your body. If not, take a few moments to find your breath and your root connection. You'll often hear people say, "come home to your body." Well, I think this is what they mean. Stay present and grounded in your own body, and you will feel at home no matter where your travels take you.