What does it mean to ground myself? Why should I bother? How can I ground myself?
Releasing the charge of our energy
I know very little about electricity, so I looked it up. Apparently in electricity, it's important to ground in order to protect your appliances, your home, and yourself from an electric overload. The physical connection to the earth provides a place for the energy to go, besides going into you.
This is the same with our physical and energetic bodies. We and all the things around us are all made up of energy, and that energy needs somewhere to go. So it is important to connect our body, mind, and spirit to the earth, as a way to release all of that energy which is constantly building up within and around us.
In yoga we learn about our energies within the seven major chakras, and the first of those chakras is the muladhara, or root chakra. It is all about grounding, survival, and stability. Grounding is so fundamental to our spirituality, that it takes primary importance before anything else.
Grounding the Body
Physically, if you've ever felt a shock from static electricity, you'll know that there is an energy in you that gets released when it shocks you. But grounding yourself can prevent this shock. Here are some ways to physically ground yourself:
1. Put your feet on the earth. Every morning, I go for a walk outside, barefoot. It's winter right now, the snow and ice can be pretty intense, but it doesn't take long! Once the connection is made between the feet and the earth, the grounding is done. And the cold under my feet is a great way to wake me up and make me feel alive!
2. Walk on a wooden floor. If you have one, it's a great practice to connect your feet to the wood, barefoot is best once again.
3. Take a bath. Connecting with water can have similar effects of connecting to the ground. If no earth is available, go for water.
Grounding the Mind
Grounding in the mind is so important to release the thoughts that get constantly charged up in those chaotic heads of ours! In the same way that we release the charge physically when we step on the earth, we can do the same with our minds. Here's how:
Breathe. One of my favourite and one of the simplest ways to ground your thoughts is to practice box breathing. It's very simple. All you need to do is breathe in for 4 counts, hold the breath for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts, and hold the breath for 4 counts. As if forming the shape of a square. Do this for five or six rounds with eyes closed, and you will be able to feel the change in your mental energy. Try it, and you'll see :)
Get creative. One of my favourite grounding activities, especially in winter, is to paint. I am currently doing a paint-by-numbers, because I don't actually have any artistic talent whatsoever. But I also love to paint my photos using a projector, tracing them, and filling in the lines by mixing the colours that I see. The act of slowing down and concentrating to steady the hand has an incredible calming and grounding affect on the mind.
3. Go outside. Observe nature. Breathe in the fresh air, walk on the earth, observe the changes all around you. Do this as much as you can. Make this a priority every day. Don't just think about doing it, but do it. And observe the effects it has on your mind.
Grounding the Spirit
On a deeper level than the body and mind, we also need to make an effort to ground in spirit. This isn't as complicated as it seems. Just as grounding in the physical body is just as simple as making contact with the earth, grounding in the spirit is as simple as checking in, and doing something for your spirit, acknowledging it, and showing your energy body a bit of love. Such as?
Practicing Yoga. Yoga means union: union of the body, mind and spirit. By bringing it all together, we are essentially grounding the spirit.
2. Get a massage. I might be a little biased, but I highly recommend Thai massage as the best way to ground yourself spiritually. Thai massage is done one the floor, so you are physically closer to the ground. It works with energy lines, plays with the energy between the giver and receiver, and is practiced highly in-tune with intuition. I believe this is one of the best ways to ground your spirit body. If you've ever had one, you probably know what I'm talking about by how you feel afterwards. If you haven't, you should try :)
3. Meditate. This is not an easy practice, and it's not something that can just be done. Meditation is something that happens to you, rather than something that you can do. It is the state in which the thoughts slow down, and something else overtakes you. In order to get there, it might take another blog post or two, but to begin with, you can start by concentrating on the breath, or observing the sensations of the body. When the mind wanders off (and it will), just gently bring it back each time. It's hard, I know. But that's why it's called a practice.
What do you do to ground yourself? Let us know anything you do to ground, release energy, or reset yourself!