Grounding Techniques: Yoga Practice for Stress Relief and Emotional Wellness

Meet me in a standing position near the top of your mat with your feet together, firmly planted down. Stand tall and bring your hands together at heart center. We need to ground down, so feel all the edges of your feet pressing into your mat. Grip all 10 toes into your mat and soften your shoulders as you set your gaze on one spot in front of you. Focusing your gaze and focusing your mind will help you stay grounded in your foundation.

Reach your arms forward and set up Eagle arms. Cross your right arm underneath your left and at your elbows, and cross again at your wrists. Relax your shoulders down away from your ears, lift your elbows up to shoulder height. Now sink back into your hips and for Eagle legs, lift your right leg above your left, crossing above the knee. Then feel free to kickstand your foot or double bind, wrapping your toes all the way around. Get low and squeeze everything together. Gently release and shake it out, coming back to Samasthiti. Hands together at heart center, set your gaze, breathe in and out through your nose, and reach your arms forward, setting up Eagle arms left under right. Lift your elbows up to shoulder height, melt your shoulders down your back, and sink back into your hips. Cross your left leg above your right, kickstand or double bind, and squeeze everything together. Release and shake it out.

Inhale Mountain Pose, exhale fold, find halfway lift, then make your way to Downward-Facing Dog. However you'd like to get there, from your downward-facing dog, set up Half Pigeon. Bring your right knee up towards your right wrist, lay your shin flat on your mat, stay square in your hips, and walk your hands forward as you slowly surrender down to your forearms and eventually even your forehead. Come down to the mat, relax what you don't need, softened tense shoulders or clenched jaw, even furrowed eyebrows, and allow yourself to soften into the mat even within this very intense posture. Trust that over time, your muscles will relax, and you may be able to go deeper within this pose. When you feel like there's chaos in business, life, relationships, it's a sign that you need to ground down. It can be as simple as physically grounding down, firming your foundation, finding your focus, and taking a big breath in and out. See if you can go any deeper for a few more breaths. Take your time as you slowly rise and shift your weight to the right as you swing your left leg around towards the upper left-hand corner of your mat with the sole of your right foot in your left inner thigh. Square your hips and shoulders to your left leg and take a big breath in, lengthen through your heart as you breathe out, hinge at your hips, folding over your left leg. You're always welcome to add a little bend to your left knee or into your hips back and feel yourself go deeper with each exhale. Slowly rise and plant your right hand behind you for a big counter stretch. Shift your weight into your right knee and into your right hand as you lift your hips up and reach back through your left fingertips. Breathe, then gently take a seat, make your way back to downward-facing dog, and set up Half Pigeon on your left side. Left knee towards your left wrist, sink into your hips with your shin flat, hips squared off to the top of your mat. Take your time as you slowly lower and surrender into this pose. Relax whatever you don't need, release any unnecessary tensing, flexing, or gripping, and allow your body and mind to completely melt into the mat beneath you. You're here for one more minute, see if you can go any deeper. Slowly rise, shift your weight to the left, and swing your right leg around towards the upper right-hand corner of your mat. Let's solve your left foot on your right inner thigh, square your hips and shoulders over your right leg, then take a big breath in to lengthen your spine as you breathe out, first hinge from your hips, then fold over your right leg, each inhale lengthening, each exhale folding. Take your time as you rise, setting up your counter stretch. Plant your left hand behind you, shift your weight into your left knee as you lift your hips and reach back to your right fingertips. Take a seat on your mat and come to lie down on your back for Happy Baby pose. Thread your hands between your knees to grab onto your feet, spread your ankles open as if you were trying to stomp on the ceiling, and ground down through your hips. Ideally, your hips, shoulders, and the back of your neck are flat on the mat. Feel free to take any other postures that serve you here before we seal off our practice.

When you're ready, release your feet, extend your legs long for your final Shavasana, a posture of complete and total relaxation to balance out the work and effort that you previously put into your practice. Allow yourself to completely relax, allow your limbs to become soft and heavy, allow your muscles big and small to release tension, and if only for a minute, feel your whole body grounding into the mat beneath you. You invite small movements back into your body, bringing life and energy back into your hands and feet, arms and legs. When you're ready, curl up on one side into a fetal position, using your hands press yourself up to seated, and bring your hands together at heart center. Whenever life feels chaotic, it's a sign that you need to ground down. We practice yoga on our mat so we can apply it in our life off our mat. Well done, yogi.

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