Letter of 6/16/2020 Grounding and Calming Practices


Hello Yoga Friends,

I thought I would send some Yoga stuff to entertain you!

Last week in the Tuesday class, Nancy asked about poses or movements to help her feel more grounded and stable emotionally.  I love questions like this and wanted to share some tips.  In the yoga world, poses are described as calming or energizing or grounding or warming or cooling.  But you must remember that ultimately Yoga is experiential.  So, if something I suggest (or you read in a book or on a web page) says a pose or movement is grounding, but you find it to be energizing or agitating then respect your body and what you are feeling. It may not be the pose for you.

Many of the things we already do are calming and grounding. 

  • Bringing your attention to your breath.
  • Extending your exhalation.
  • Cooling Breath: Stick your tongue out and roll it.  Inhale Through your tongue like a straw.  At the top of the inhale, bring your tongue to the roof of your mouth and exhale through your nose. Repeat.
  • Standing on the ground (outside if possible) in bare feet or minimalist shoes.  
  • Stomping your feet.
  • Sitting or lying on the floor or ground.
  • Practicing the acupressure points we already use in class. The Mountain pose variation with the hands stacked on your head on the Anterior Summit Point (see the attachment below Points for Depression for a picture). Or the variation with the arms crossed holding the lung meridian acupressure points. or hold the Sea of Tranquility point.
  • Poses like pose of a child or seated forward bends are considered grounding.
  • Non-Yoga things like gardening or even organizing something like a book shelf or a kitchen drawer can be grounding.
  • Practice the Grounding Hand Mudras (see the YouTube video below).
  • Some exercises are considering stimulating and bring the energy up like Kappalabati breathing or holding your breath on the inhalation or fast paced sequences like Sun Salutation. Also, poses like wheel and other back bends are warming and stimulating.  Twists are considered warming.

I would recommend that you track in your own body what is calming.  We had a discussion about this sometime earlier in the year and some people found leg stretches to be calming. Poses like pigeon or deep squat or balancing poses because they required concentration. Michael Gach would often say “notice the effects of the pose”. When you are in it and when you come out.  For me Five Pointed Star is really grounding and somewhat magical. I just like how it makes me feel.  Ask yourself what poses work for you, not work like you can do them like the picture but work as in the make you feel a certain way. Better, calmer, more connected, more expansive, more alive. More settled.  More grounded. I would love to know what you discover about your self through this practice.

I have also included an excerpt from a book called Accessible Yoga.  It is so similar to my teaching belief I wanted to share. When I first started reading the book, I was impressed. The introduction is by Matt Sanford who is one of my favorite teachers that I have shared info about. And Jivana also mentions that he taught in Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, which showed that diet and yoga and meditation could have a positive impact on heart disease.  When I first started teaching, I used Dean Ornish’s books as inspiration. I can only load one photo per blog post.  so I have not included this.

I would encourage you to print up the Acupressure Point pages so you can study them away from your computer or device. Michael Gach’s book, Acupressure’s Potent Points

Grounding Hand Mudras video by Julie  https://youtu.be/R2mwQc6B0Ks

Minimalist shoe source if you don’t want to walk on the ground barefoot…but almost.https://xeroshoes.com/shop/gender/womens/ztrail-women/

This last one is a short MovNat sequence that I have been playing with. MovNat Ground Sequence https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FMovNat%2Fvideos%2F626367541556569%2F&show_text=0&width=476"

Enjoy and see you  in class.