Grounding Yoga Sequence to Connect You to the Earth
To be grounded is to feel solid, strong, and well-balanced, in body and in mind. Every yoga practice offers an opportunity to root down, creating a firm foundation from which to grow expansive, free, and joyful. Yoga’s standing poses are best approached from the ground up. Even if they include a fancy arm variation or a deep twist in the upper body, don’t forget that your stability comes from your connection to the Earth. Your alignment begins with your feet, your legs, your hips, your whole stance. Practice these grounding poses any time you feel like your head is getting in front of your body.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Nothing sets up your strong foundation like spending a few breaths in Mountain Pose.
1. Scan your body, starting with the bottoms of your feet.
2. With both soles flat on the mat, turn your toes ever so slightly inwards to bring the outer edges of your feet to a parallel position.
3. Your big toes may be brought to touch or you can go for more stability by placing the feet hip distance apart.
4. Spread your toes without gripping them and draw up your arches.
5. With a slight bend in the knee to avoid locking the joint, engage your thighs and feel your knee caps move upwards.
6. Gently draw your belly button in toward your spine.
7. Stack your shoulders over your hips.
8. Turn your palms open to the front to help your shoulder blades stay on your back but don’t puff up your chest.
9. Let the shoulders relax away from your ears.
10. Your neck stays long and the crown of your head moves toward the ceiling (or sky).
Take five to ten breaths to feel your posture and alignment at work.m
Awkward Chair (Utkatasana)
To transition to Chair Pose (Utkatasana), bend your knees and let your butt drop back a lot as if you were lowering yourself into a chair that isn’t there.
1. Glancing down over your knees should allow you to see your toes peeking out.
2. Make sure that your weight is in your heels, by lifting your toes and giving them a little wiggle.
3. To counter all this downward movement, lift your arms up overhead while keeping your shoulders away from your ears.
4. Let your palms face one another and be parallel.
5. Think of your body as a lightening bolt grounding down into the earth.
Stay for five breaths as your thighs begin to burn.
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Restraighten your legs, shift your weight into your right foot, and lift your left foot off the floor. You can do this all in one motion or take it in stages if you need more time to establish your balance.
1. Ground down into your standing leg and bring the sole of your left foot to your inner right thigh or calf.
2. Avoid placing the left foot on the side of your right knee since you don’t want to put pressure on the joint.
3. Your left knee should be pointing to the left.
4. The force of your left foot tends to shift the hips right. Put your hands on your hips to make sure that they are level.
5. Remember your stance in Mountain Pose? Everything is the same in Tree except for the lifted leg.
6. Fix your gaze on something slightly in front of you that isn’t moving to help you balance.
7. Once you feel stable, you can grow your arms overhead.
Take three to five breaths, resuming the posture if you fall out. Release your left foot to the floor. Give both legs a little shake then repeat the pose standing on your left foot to keep things even.
Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)
Step your left foot about halfway down toward the back of your mat.
1. Turn your left toes out from the heel around 45 degrees.
2. Your hips are still facing forward in their Mountain Pose position.
3. Widen your stance away from the midline to create a more stable base.
4. On an exhalation, forward bend over your front leg, keeping a flat back.
5. Bring your fingertips to the floor or onto blocks on either side of your right foot.
6. Keep a slight bend in your right knee to avoid locking it.
7. On your inhalations, lengthen your spine. On your exhalations, deepen your forward fold.
Five breaths should do nicely. Then step up to the front of your mat and step your right foot back to do the other side.
Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
Come to lie on your back. Bend your knees and stack your ankles over your knees for Happy Baby yoga pose.
1. Make sure that your sacrum stays rooted down.
2. Pull on the soles of your feet with your hands to move your knees toward your armpits.
After five to ten breaths, release your legs and arms to the floor.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Feel your body connect to the ground along its full length. Placing a folded blanket over your thighs or a block on your pelvis helps increase the sensation of weightiness. Let yourself be heavy, embraced by the Earth.
Featured Yogis (in order above) @adamhusler, @minna.skirgard and @kathryn_fielding