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Yoga Bliss Gambia: Grounding Back through Yoga

My Magazine 2024/02
4 min
Author: Melissa Kuwahata Daswani
PEOPLE
Are you grounded? What does it mean to be grounded? Literally, it can mean connecting yourself to earth consciously. It is the discipline and process of reconnecting with your bodily, mental, and emotional states. It's vital for your well-being and to feel balanced and calm.

When you are not grounded, it can lead to - 

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Difficulty in focusing and concentrating
  • Feeling disconnected from your body
  • Feeling unbalanced, unstable or vulnerable
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated

So, if you often have any of these symptoms, it will be beneficial for you to practice some grounding techniques. Some simple techniques may be walking barefoot, taking a nature walk, and lying on grass, but yoga can also help ground yourself.

Pranayama and asana in yoga require focus on the breath and body and tuning in on the senses that you may overlook otherwise. It also becomes very effective if you combine visualization connecting your body to the ground as you practice yoga.

Mindfulness energetic breathing

Finding a comfortable, peaceful space, take a seat on the floor. Breathing in and out of your nose, notice the depth of your breath and the pace of your breath. Continue for a few rounds at the same pace and depth. Leave your running thoughts and any external disturbances, bringing your awareness back to your breath each time you lose focus. Start to slowly deepen your breath. Slow, deep inhalation as you expand the stomach and chest to fill the lungs, and then slow, deep exhalation as you release the air, allowing your chest to settle back and your stomach to draw back towards the spine. Continue this breath. Visualize the breath as the vitality of life, following its path as it enters your nose, through the back of your throat to the lungs, and spreads through to energize and revitalize your body.

As you continue this process, can you visualize the energy you are breathing into your body getting bigger and spreading out towards your head and down towards your bottom? Take that energy down to where you feel the connection to the ground. As you take that energy down, allow yourself to blur the boundary of yourself and the earth, like there is no distinction and you are an extension of the earth. Hold that space for as long as you can. If you lose your visualization, you may want to repeat the steps, or if you feel more calm and peaceful, you may like to continue with some asanas.

ASANA

Mountain Pose – Tadasana

With your feet hips width apart and your arms beside the body with the palms facing forward, draw up the spine. Close your eyes, engage your legs, and start to take your awareness down towards the feet. Notice the sensation of the mat under your feet; try to spread your weight equally on all corners of your feet. Maintain this balance and stillness. See if you can visualize your breath and prana(energy) travelling down through the body, down the legs to your feet, allowing that prana to penetrate the ground. Through this connection, you are also able to receive the stability and the strength from the earth.

Tree Pose – Virkasana

Starting in mountain pose (Tadasana), find a point of focus in front of you. You should maintain that focus throughout. Start to bring your right foot beside your left inner ankle, with the toes touching the ground. If you can maintain your balance easily, lift your right foot to the left inner calf just under the knee. If you can keep your balance easily there, lift your foot to the left inner thigh. Maintain the position you find suitable for yourself. Bring your palms together in prayer, and focus back on your foot's connection with the ground. Visualize your energy and breath flowing down the supporting leg through the soles of your feet to the ground. Spreading like roots to bring more stability. Try to maintain the vertical extension through the spine and take the arms up; allow yourself to draw the energy from your surroundings or the sky/sun towards yourself, drawing it down towards your foot. Hold for as long as you feel comfortable. Repeat on your opposite leg.

Standing forward fold – Uttanasana 

Starting in mountain pose, as you inhale, draw the arms up, extending your whole body upwards. As you exhale, bending at your hip joint, take your chest down towards your legs. Allow your hips to turn outwards and your stomach to come towards your thighs as you bend forward to prevent your back from rounding. Try to bring softness to your neck, shoulders, and upper spine. Start to bring the focus towards the weight on your feet. Try to distribute the weight equally, shift some weight towards the toes, and shift the weight back towards the heels. Pulling the weight back and forth a few times, return to the centre.

Child pose – Balasana

Come down to the mat on all fours, in a tabletop position. Draw the big toes together, and take the hips back towards the heels, allowing your forehead to lower towards the ground. You may like to stretch the arms forward, or you may want to bring them down alongside the body on the mat. Relax the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and let your hips soften, allowing the body to surrender to the mat.

Corpse pose – Savasana.

Lying on your back, allow some space between your legs and space between your arms and body. Allow your feet to tilt slightly outwards and your palms to face up. You may like to prop a rolled towel or pillows under your knees, neck, or back. Once you settle in this position, close your eyes and bring awareness to your breath. Relax your shoulders, arms, hips and legs. Soften your face, releasing any tension you may be keeping in your jaw, the eyebrows or the forehead. Let your eyes rest down deeper into their sockets. Bring your focus to your breath, feeling the inhalation and exhalation as you breathe through your nose. Notice the sensation of air passing in and out of the nostrils. If any thoughts pop up, let it pass without much consideration. Let the thoughts pass through without contemplation to the thoughts, then bring yourself back to your breath once again. Try to maintain savasana for about 5 minutes or more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melissa Kuwahata Daswani
Founder, Yoga Bliss Gambia and Yoga Bliss Creations
Melissa Daswani is a professional yoga teacher trained and accredited in Hatha Yoga from Rishikesh, India. She was introduced to yoga in the early adolesce by her mother who often practised yoga at their home and still continues to practice to date. Melissa started to indulge in yoga with a keen interest in her 20’s after researching the benefits of practising yoga. In order to expand her knowledge and practice, she initially enrolled on official training in India during 2009. Her initial stint in yoga teaching began in 2012 in Togo, followed by expanding in the Gambia from 2016. Melissa’s style of teaching incorporates the fundamental and crucial steps of yoga called Hatha yoga, which encompasses the basis of all other styles of yoga. Melissa believes that every individual has something to gain from Yoga which is not limited to mental, physical or spiritual. Yoga is not a religion but more a spiritual exercise as well as a practice that can universally be incorporated into your daily routine. Melissa offers regular weekly classes in Fajara, the Gambia, which is open to all levels. She also runs a weekly beach yoga class which is very refreshing and energizing. It’s her love and dedication towards teaching which allows her the opportunity to share the essence of yoga and its benefits to people from all walks of life. Whether you reside in the Gambia or a visitor in The Gambia, Yoga Bliss Gambia would love to welcome you to their next class.

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