Yoga & Nature: Mantras. Mindful Walking. Feet in the Grass. Gardening.
Somewhat distracted, surrounded by chaos, battling the pervasive news, anxious about the unknown? I hear you and I see you and I want to take a moment to share a few tools in my tool belt on grounding specifically in nature. As a yoga teacher, I teach students how to ground their energy. If you are a literal thinker, imagine there are roots connecting you to the earth. Grounding is a term used in yoga as a representation of being rooted both physically and mentally in the earth.
In a time of such uncertainty, being rooted and grounded is essential to not only our mental and physical health, but also our sense of connection to both our nuclear family and every extension of the collective. It is an overall sense of well-being and balance.
Grounding evokes the following mantras:
I am safe.
I am calm.
I am secure.
I am rooted.
Much is entirely out of our control right now; however, we can control our reactions to the external world. I invite you to go outside and talk a walk. This is no ordinary walk. This is the walk that will change your mood and elevate your spirit.
Invite your senses into this walk. If you normally look down, turn your gaze upward. Listen to the whirling of the wind in the tree leaves, dogs barking, birds chirping. Take your attention to your feet and feel the ground beneath you from heel strike to toe push. You are alive and you are right where you need to be. Breathe, ground and release.
When you find a safe space, perhaps your own backyard or your nearby park, take your shoes off and let your feet feel the earth’s support. The more physical sensations we can provide the body with, the more grounded it feels. This is science based and having your feet in grass, sand or in the Earth helps regulate our autonomic nervous system. Essentially, we are resetting and regulating the natural circadian rhythms (sleep/wake cycles) of our bodies.
Finally, it has been a recent discovery of why gardening makes some people so happy! Scientists have discovered that the mycobacterium found in soil can improve brain functions while boosting moods. Boost serotonin levels with an afternoon of gardening!