As an experienced clinical psychologist, trauma-informed mindfulness, meditation and yoga instructor, and Ayurvedic doula, I have developed expertise in a diverse range of Eastern and Western healing modalities to offer women personalized paths to holistic growth and transformation. I believe that we all have an innate capacity for empowered and resilient living, and with the right combination of support, tools, and commitment to taking steps toward change, growth and transformation are always possible, regardless of how ingrained our thought patterns and habits may feel.
Finding your center is a holistic process, involving body, mind, heart and spirit.
Anodea Judith, the author of the book Eastern Body, Western Mind, states… “grounding orients us in time and space, and connects us to the environment. Being grounded gives us a source of strength through connection to our body and surroundings.”
Though we can and do access grounding through our body, full grounding doesn’t just involve the physical body.
Incorporating grounding practices from several perspectives — Western psychology, yoga philosophy and Ayurveda — allows us to approach grounding in a more holistic manner.
Let’s explore four different categories of grounding practices for finding our center: body-based, breath work, cognitive and lifestyle.
Body-based grounding practices focus on mindful movement, our senses, and food and nutrition.
Simple ways to connect with your body include stretching, such as stretching your arms and legs, or rolling your head. Walking slowly, noticing each footstep and saying “left” or “right” with each step, is also useful for grounding.
Various yoga asana like Mountain Pose (Tadasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), Knees to Chest Pose (Apanasana), Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani) and Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana) are all beneficial grounding practices.
Touch various objects around you, such as a pen, your keys, your clothing or a table. Notice the textures, colors, materials, weight and temperature — comparing the objects you touch. For example, is one colder or lighter?
You can also try soothing with the senses like:
Choose Vata-pacifying foods to achieve this.
In Ayurveda, Vata is one of the three doshas that influence our physical constitution and well-being.
A Vata imbalance can leave us feeling off-center, scattered and anxious.
When selecting Vata-pacifying foods, favor warm over cold, and moist and oily over dry.
The warm quality can be emphasized by eating foods that are both energetically warming and warm in temperature, and by using warming, digestive spices like:
Focus on eating cooked rather than raw foods, and prepare and garnish foods with generous amounts of high-quality oils or ghee.
Drink plenty of fluids — ideally warm or hot — but no cooler than room temperature.
In addition, focus on eating moist foods like berries, melons, summer squash, zucchini and yogurt help to offset Vata’s dry quality, as do soups and stews.
Oily foods like avocado, coconut, olives, buttermilk, cheese, eggs, whole milk (preferably non-homogenized), wheat, nuts, and seeds are generally supportive as well.
Root vegetables, nuts and seeds, spiced milk, stewed or cooked fruits, and cooked grains offer solid, stabilizing sources of energy and deep nourishment to the physical body, too.
Try to minimize the following foods:
Breath work helps to regulate the nervous system and stabilize our physiology.
Three-Part-Breath – or Dirga Swasam Pranayama – is an accessible, calming breathing practice that only takes a few minutes.
First, think about the flow of your breath in your lungs as three sections:
One version of Three-Part-Breath begins by inhaling into the soft belly, continuing the breath into the ribcage and then the chest.
Reverse the order as you exhale, beginning the exhalation in the chest, followed by the ribcage and the soft belly.
Focus on your breath, taking slow inhalations and exhalations, when practicing Dirga Swasam Pranayama.
You can perform breath work in a variety of settings – such as driving in your car, at work or lying in bed — to facilitate grounding.
Mental grounding practices include cognitive strategies. For example, play a “categories” game with yourself.
Try to think of types of foods, famous people, animals or cities that begin with certain letters of the alphabet. Or describe an everyday activity, like a favorite meal that you cook, in great detail.
If you enjoy literature, read something aloud like a poem or a meaningful book chapter.
Finding your center can be achieved with numerous lifestyle techniques such as gardening, spending time in nature, standing with your feet in the ocean or your back against a tree, and cooking for yourself are all examples of lifestyle grounding practices.
Other lifestyle techniques include spending time with animals, such as your companion animals, and meditation.
The structure and rhythm of your daily routines can also serve as a grounding practice.
Even in difficult times when we may be overwhelmed with stress, grief, fatigue and pain, we can access a grounded sense of safety, stability and security.
To discover more concrete ways for finding your center, you can listen to the full podcast episode here:
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