There are so many things on deck in my heart that I want to write about – but this NEEDS to be written. I saw this video today and it hit me so hard. I spend a lot of time in my yoga practice and teaching on getting grounded – it’s a typical practice in yoga in general that is often paid lip service and has no real connection to an experience. Yoga teachers encourage us all the time to “connect through our feet and get grounded” and this becomes a taken for granted instruction we all perform. But what does it really mean? Why is grounding important? What is the experience of grounding?
The ground is the very foundation of life. All things spring from the earth, rising up, growing and flourishing. When we ground we can feel the foundation of life as our own foundation. The fundamental importance of grounding is TO FEEL SUPPORT. Nothing can happen without support. Plants root down, then rise up. Buildings sit on a foundation. Bones strengthen because they experience the tension of resisting the force of gravity pulling them DOWN. And we cannot move forward psychologically without support. All therapy, especially trauma therapy always begins with safety and feeling of being supported, stable – the ground will not forsake you.
In yoga, grounding is the experience of paying attention to parts of the body that are contacting the ground. In this way we feel the support of the rising earth meeting our downward force. We have the EXPERIENCE of the earth, and in that experience we can know that we are supported. We may not have been supported as children, adults, partners, friends or coworkers. But in yoga, we can come to know the experience of support nonetheless. It is a support that is dependant on no one. And can be felt at any moment, when we dig our attention DOWN. The knowing becomes I AM SUPPORTED – and you can feel that as a sensation. And no one can ever take that away from you.
In this deep support we shift our attention from our mind chatter to sensation and begin to bear our internal landscape. Like any good practice, grounding helps us to become REAL to know our REALity – to become EMBODIED. Supported and embodied the foundation is laid for deep inner work. Internal wars may wage, storms thrash, and yet the earth inside you remains.
The video I post here is the absolute essence of grounding. Earth thumping, dirt raising, bone shaking – knocking into the soil, each stomp says I’M HERE. And there is no doubt – the earth is there too, supporting every pound of their rhythmic abandon. Imagine this in our culture. Imagine community digging in, and in and in through dance and pounding and pulsing. I thirst for this.
The closest I remember embodying the heart beat of nature – my nature – was at a folk fest at 3am on the summer solstice years ago. A drumming circle had begun far off in the bushes away from the concert grounds – dozens of drums in a circle, around a giant fire. And I couldn’t help but drum with my feet. I circled the fire over and over, a lone dancer, while the sun’s last light skirted the mountains that held us in a basin. Abandon and rhythm meet, chaos and order. And I deeply felt the ground pushing back at my feet. I could not deny the presence of support.
What would it be like to really know the feeling of groundedness through yoga? Don’t let this be a concept. Of all things do not let this be a concept! Dig in, through your bones and MEAN IT. Mean it, until you KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, you are supported, you are real and you are HERE.