With the to and fro of students leaving/tourists arriving, June has been a frenetic month here in Oxford. There’s something about the extra few hours of daylight, the need to make the most of the sunshine, and the excitement of summer that I find to be a little….uprooting?! I was feeling this quite potently the last few weeks, I was struggling to focus on anything fully and losing a grip on my practise. So I made the theme for myself and my classes ‘grounding’.
My most sustaining and rewarding practises are where I feel both energised and stabilised by my movements. I can channel what my mind and body needs and move safely in tune with where my edges are that day. The easiest classes aren’t always the gentlest, but the ones where you just do what you really need in that moment. Real flow comes when we are involved in our movements, our breath, ourselves. Feeling grounded means feeling connected to all those things, but how do we find our bedrock in times when everything off the mat is in full haywire-summer-swing?
The more i’ve explored this theme the more ways I see to access this experience of being grounded:
Firstly: Taking things back to the base; concentrate on the root chakra, being mindful to engage the mula bandha and lower core while you practise. Focus on this area involves examining our inner foundation where are security and most basic needs spring from.
We can (and this has been something I have enjoyed playing with in class) look to the feet. The pedestal of the standing body, the start of all our standing postures. Take time to find your footing and feel the subtle shifts in balance and stability when the way we stand is modified or challenged. If you haven’t tried toe yoga (look this one up!) or deep toe stretches, do. They are great for waking up the soles.
It’s also been a huge blessing to have dry enough weather to practise outside and this tangible connection with the world beyond the studio has also given me a great sense of being rooted. Feeling the grass with the hands open in savasana, or just being aware of the space above is enough to bring you back to earth.
Do your own practise but with others. The space held by a another person can help you feel secure, sharing some Ommmms at the end or just enjoying savasana in silence is a very safe and nurturing experience.