Plenty of experiences make us feel off-balance and ungrounded, as if the rug is pulled out from under us or we’re on a nonstop treadmill scrambling to keep it together. Working too much, sleeping too little, eating too much or too little; losing someone or something of value; gaining never-ending responsibilities: there’s no shortage of daily stressors, running the gamut in degrees of intensity, to make us feel fried, flustered, and fatigued.
Each of us exhibits symptoms of feeling stressed or stretched beyond our limits differently. Some people get anxious and angry, forgetful and flighty, or all of the above. When I’m stretched beyond my limits, I literally lose my physical sense of center and become a klutz
of perilous proportions. (Remember how I head-butted the overhead luggage bin on the Acela train
last week? Prime example). Sure, it’s entertaining for those around me (who doesn’t love slip-on-a-banana-peel humor?), but I’m one unexpected telephone pole or oncoming bus away from serious injury.
Returning to center can be easy or challenging, depending how far-gone we are. In truth, it’s best to catch yourself from spiraling into uber crazed territory sooner than later. Hence, we practice yoga and meditation.
As I’ve mentioned here before, mudras
are an effective way to set a specific intention for a meditation practice, which brings me to bhu mudra
(shown above), a grounding, earthy mudra
that is said to help practitioners find trust, grounding, and a sense of feeling rooted.
It’s important to note that not all stress manifests itself in a manner lacking solid ground. Depression, for example, can be very heavy, in which case you might want to try a more uplifting mudra
. However, the type of tension to which I am referring, today, is an airier kind, a feeling of being unstable, unsteady, flying around like a whirling dervish for too much activity, stimulation, travel, responsibility, etc.
is the perfect antidote. I have been practicing it more regularly since learning it at an Ayurveda workshop at Kripalu
last month, taught by Jennifer Reis
. It’s incredibly simple to try: Make peace signs with each of your hands, then root the tips of your pointer and middle fingers on each hand into the earth. You will immediately feel a sensation of “plugging” into the ground.
Close your eyes, sit still, and breath deeply. As you do so, imagine your first chakra, residing at the tip of your tailbone, connecting to the floor beneath you. A mantra that inspires grounding can also help. Reis recommends saying to yourself or out loud, “I am grounded. I am connected.”
Good luck getting grounded, yogis! If you have other mudras, asanas, or personal tricks that help you feel centered, please share.
[Photo taken in the yoga studio space, suspended above the beach and amidst the trees, at Jade, and eco hotel in Tulum, Mexico].