Just a wee splurge of yoga adjacent thoughts this morning. Inspired by bouldering in France in the forest, by hill walking nearer to home and by this shift in seasons which is one of my absolute favourites.
I have been thinking a lot about the earth, because I have been spending time with it. Super up close with it -interrogating and moving with and on rocks, or zooming out from the top of a mountain and seeing the span of it, or from the seasons change and shift and feeling the rhythm of it. This weeks classes will all be focusing on connecting to earth in some way.
If you’re prone to panic and anxiousness, you might be familiar with ‘grounding’ yourself as a way of curbing those feelings. That might be through breath, slowing down your exhalations, or by focusing on body - how your feet are planted to the earth. The purpose of this being to bring your mind, attention, awareness in and down, to the present moment and to stop the mind hurtling around externally - banging off of past and future, and projections of external opinions and situations. Land you back in yourself and also to connect you to something bigger - vast but safe - the earth.
And equally if you’re more prone to depression or lethargy, inability to move or act, or hope. connecting to the earth can give energy, vibrancy and possibility. In my last class we played with the amazing Donna Farhi (QUEEN) practice of propping, collapsing & yielding. The idea being that when you yield to the earth, as opposed to tensing away from it or inertly sinking into it, when you authentically meet the ground, the earth, with your body and awareness, you can feel this charge. Like a circuit of energy, a plugging in. An organic energy. An aliveness and nourishment. Because the earth is alive and is moving and shifting and it can show you how.
It feels fundamentally GOOD to ground. Steadiness, peace, safety but also energy, synergy, awakeness. For those of us who live in cities, who work indoors, and who spend a lot of time thinking, communicating, feeling, reacting both real life or online it’s so easy to lose connection to earth. To live in our heads. To disconnect from our bodies. To constrict our breath.
But through the asphalt, through concrete, through man made structure and infrastructure, the earth is always lying underneath. And despite all of those layers between you and it, at any time and wherever you are, if you tune in and focus you can feel it. Yes I reckon it’s easier if you’re outside and in nature, it kind of demands a presence and attention. which is also why so many of us get hooked on doing things that take us outside.
But whether you’re in a tower block six stories up or whether you’re burying your bare toes in the mud and dirt. I like to think of it as a giant, alive net or hammock, the webbing of the globe. And like a net or hammock it holds you and cocoons you. Brilliant eh! Particularly if you ever feel isolated, disconnected, alone - that you are always and constantly being held and supported, nourished and charged. And to reap those benefits all you have to do is notice - and be.