By Michelle Peralta, BS, RYT-200
Earth Month provides us the opportunity to be “more green” and gives us sustainable opportunities with our time here on earth taking care of mother nature. However, our yoga practice can help us feel more rooted to the earth through the soles of our feet and provides us the opportunity to take care of ourselves. The first chakra, our Muladhara, is related to stability, grounding ourselves, and ability to feel safe and trust others. Some issues that are related to not feeling well-grounded include lack of trust, suspiciousness or keeping our guard up, indecisiveness, being easily overwhelmed, going from one crisis to the next, or becoming overly dependent on others. It is good to ground ourselves to the earth for stabilization in our own lives. Here are some quick poses to connect to our Root Chakra when we start to feel out of control, insecure or stressed about the future.
Let’s begin our practice and set our intention to feel grounded within the body, connected to the earth, and give ourselves the opportunity to feel safety and security. In a sitting position, begin with lifting the shoulders up to the ears and letting them slide down the back. If your mind is already racing with thoughts, it might be a good idea to face the palms down resting on the knees. However, if you tend to feel sleepy mid-day, face the palms up to the sky.
Videos were recorded at the University of Maryland URecFIt in Baltimore, MD.
Music is Sunset by Kai Engel.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
When we get stressed out, our minds and bodies fall out of balance. Warrior II is an introductory balancing posture that can help tone the chest and shoulders, while strengthening the legs and improving your balance and posture. Energetically, Warrior II helps create a sense of power and safety. It serves as both a grounding and an energizing pose.
Start out standing up with your feet as wide as your wrists or in a 5-pointed star. Move into a lunge position, keeping your back leg straight, bend your front leg to a 90 degree angle. Allow your arms to stay in the 5-star position. Just breathe here and concentrate. Focus on a single point to help facilitate your balance. Use the photo above as a guide.
Stay here for 30 seconds. When you are ready, switch sides.
Mountain (Tadasana) and Tree (Vrksasana) Poses
Standing with your legs hip-width apart, squeeze the leg muscles to the bones. Draw the belly to the spine and lift the chest to the sky. Bring the shoulders to the ears and allow them to slide down the back. You can use the wall to guide your posture, especially if you have experienced vertigo in the past. This pose is our foundation to yoga and helps to encourage good ailment and posture. Mountain pose produces a very grounding effect – making it clear that one is present and ready to stand strong in one’s life. Try repeating the mantra, “I have enough, I know enough, I am enough.”
You can move into Tree pose if you are looking improve your balance and build further confidence. Tree pose is very beneficial if you are starting to feel like your mind is scattered. From mountain pose, shift your weight onto one leg, lifting one foot off the floor to rest on the thigh or calf muscle. We strongly encourage you to not place your foot on the knee joint! Release the shoulders away from the ears, lift the arms to the sky with palms touching or hold them in prayer position as shown in the video.
Squat Pose (Malasana)
From mountain pose, widen your stance and sit low into a Squat Pose (Malasana) with your toes turned out. Inhale to lift your chest and keep the spine long, pressing your palms into prayer position at the center of your chest. Press the elbows into the inside of the knees for a gentle stretch in the groin area. The soles of the feet press into the floor to feel rooted to the earth. You can lean against a wall for assistance or use a folded towel under the heels.
Focus on your breathing and repeat, “I am fully grounded and supported.”
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Putting the forehead on a mat or a blanket also helps calm our minds. From table position, bring the knees and big toes together. Sit down on your heels with your feet flat on the floor. Inhale. On your exhale, release the torso down over the legs and place the forehead on the floor. Stretch your arms out in front of you. You can open your knees wider than your hips if your stomach is uncomfortable. Additionally, if you are pregnant or had a recent abdominal surgery, you should skip this pose. Use the photo above to guide you. This is a great restorative pose that allows us to withdraw, surrender, and release the mind to the unknown.
Stay here for as long as you like, focusing on your breathing.
Words of Wisdom
It is important to provide ourselves time to slow things down and tune into our breath. By practicing this, we can avert small crises and approach our problems with a bit of mindfulness and a sense of feeling more grounded. We must go inside ourselves to find peace and serenity that lies in each and every one of us.
About the Author: Michelle Peralta, BS, RYT-200
Michelle is a Yoga Teacher who completed the Center for Integrative Medicine’s 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training and is a trained Reiki Master. She has presented Yoga As Medicine workshops to the University of Maryland medical students and taught high school students at Mission Thrive about fitness, health and yoga this past summer.
She is the Education Coordinator at the Center for Integrative Medicine (CIM), part of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She spearheads the organization and coordination of CIM’s Health and Wellness Conference, as well as other education workshops for health professionals and medical students.
In 2013, Michelle started Baltimore Foxette, a community engagement page for the city of Baltimore on healthy city living on Facebook. She teaches monthly pop-yoga around Baltimore City. You can also follow her tweets @BmoreFoxette and her pins on Pinterest.
Prior to her position as Education Coordinator, Michelle worked with various non-profits in Philadelphia providing education on health, fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle changes. She has a BS in Kinesiology from Temple University.
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