This week’s yoga focus is being grounded. Having raised four children into adulthood, I am used to thinking of the term “grounded” as something pejorative: a loss of privileges, a sense of being imprisoned in one’s own home. And to be sure, many of us feel like prisoners these days. Yet the thought of feeling grounded can also be a positive thing.
Being grounded means being supported. In yoga, we practice mountain pose. In this pose, our feet and legs push firmly into the earth for a sense of strength and stability. The rock solid earth will hold us. Lying down on my mat, I turn my palms face down into the earth, feeling her steadiness and presence. I am grounded.
Being grounded means being safe. Electrical connections need grounding so that the current doesn’t harm us. And as parents, we know that grounding our children is a way of keeping them from dangerous activities and people. While they are home safe with us, we can breathe.
Being grounded also means comfort. We often describe people with whom we are comfortable as “grounded” or “down to earth.” Their homespun wisdom and practicality can cut through so much intellectual tumult or psychological stress. People with sensory issues use weighted blankets to help them feel more secure as they sleep.
Mother Earth is the nurturer. From the ground comes our sustenance. Life-sustaining trees have roots that reach deep into the ground for nourishment and support. We build the foundations of our homes in the ground, and our homes become the source of all we need: comfort, nourishment, warmth, and stability.
As an adult, I have developed a fear of heights. Ferris wheels, high rises, ski lifts: I find the idea of being up in the air terrifying. Here in Chicago, the Willis Tower has plexiglass shelves that jut out into the air at 1,353 feet above the ground. People stand on them and pose for selfies with giant grins on their faces. No thanks. Take me down the speeding elevator and get my feet back on solid ground.
Children love to play in the earth. They squish their toes in mud or sand, digging and building sand castles or mud pies. I think they recognize the fundamental comfort of being grounded, no matter how exhilarating the heights of jungle gyms or the top of playground slides can be. They want to be held secure in their parents’ arms.
It is good to be grounded, especially in times of fear and uncertainty. In these times, I will treasure the embrace of Mother Earth and plant myself firmly in her arms.