Practices for Getting Rooted

walking in the grass

Our roots anchor us when so much of our busy lives can displace us.

Simple is always going to feel better to our spirit than busy, complicated, and overwhelmed.

Walking barefoot always feels better than with shoes on.

My Practices for Getting Rooted

  1. Simplify your schedule. Say “no” more often. Create a schedule that gives you space and allows you to get what you need done. One thing you can do is schedule this time in. I write on my schedule things like “Beth Time.” This way I am more likely to honor that time.
  2. Create a self-care routine. Routine creates balance and makes us happy. We all have a routine that when we are busy we easily forget. Getting rooted means adding some element of a self-care routine into our daily lives. For me it’s my morning tea and journal followed by some asana.
  3. Eat grounding foods. Some foods lighten and others ground. I need grains to feel grounded and connected to Earth. I also need unctuous comfort foods to feel nourished. Get connected to the Earth by eating healthy, organic, wholesome and nourishing foods for your body.
  4. Plant your bare feet on the Earth. We all need more time to feel the Earth beneath our feet—not pavement. When we connect to the Earth’s energy we reconnect to ourselves.
  5. Getting Rooted Meditation.
    Start in a comfortable cross-legged position, sitting on blankets, a meditation cushion or sit outside in nature. Close your eyes and allow your organs of perception to be quiet and passive. Become aware of your breath spending a few moments connecting to yourself. As you breathe bring your awareness to your exhale. Allow the exhale to be longer than your inhale so that the exhale releases tension throughout the body. Next, bring your attention to the base of your spine at the tailbone. Imagine roots reaching down through the Earth grounding you to the core of the Earth’s energy. Now, bring that energy up through those roots all the way up your spine to the crown of your head. Pause. On your next exhale allow Earth energy to flow back down from the crown of your head all the way back down the spine. Release all that is no longer needed. You can continue to practice in this way, or come back to regular breathing.

You can listen to the meditation below. :

P.S-This is my first attempt at adding a recording here. I will say my gratitude now to Mercury for being kind and graceful on this first attempt.

Pranayama is like a prayer.

Yet Prana is not merely the ordinary breath, it is the energy behind the breath. Pranayama practice is not simply breath work but moving to a deeper level of energy and awareness, accessing Prana at a level through, behind and beyond the breath.

Pandit Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley) from his article Practice Pranayama to Access Higher Energies 

Prana is the breath of life of all beings in the universe…Prana is the hub of the Wheel of Life. Everything is established in it…Therefore the Yogi takes refuge in Prana.

-BKS Iyengar, Light on Pranayama

Pranayama and I didn’t always get along. I was uncomfortable with pranayama practice. Why was I so uncomfortable? I felt agitated, constricted, and like I was going to burst from the inside out. I couldn’t rest into the energy. Was I not ready for this practice? Was I doing something wrong? Why is this so agitating? Why was I not breathing? Where was my energy going? Apparently all over the place. My energy was distracted and leaking out around me. I was unable to rest into the energy of this life force sitting within me. When, I would practice pranayama I experienced fire–a burning flame kindling with each breath in the belly of my abdomen. It was never relaxing. Containing my energy and grounding it needed practice. This has taken me time, and practice.

Enter motherhood, and pranayama is my new friend. Pranayama is like a prayer. A prayer where I rest with prana, with spirit.

Pranayama is like praying. You take time to be with your breath, time to listen, time to witness all of you, time to give yourself exactly what it needs–prana. Each breath is a prayer for yourself, a kind reminder to love yourself and be with your own magnificent-life-giving spirit.

Are you wondering where to start? Do you feel agitated and frustrated when you practice pranayama? Pranayama is preparation for meditation. If you are constantly busy and your mind is all about town, it takes time to teach the mind to be quiet. Pranayama can give us this time. Nadi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing is nourishing for me right now. It’s balancing, and calms my sleep deprived nervous system. Start with something simple that you know you need. Fire breath or kapalabhati is not ideal for many people. It can be extremely agitating, and unsettling. Listen to what it is your body needs and step into the “energy behind the breath.”

“Heartbeat”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If heartbeats had a voice,
what would they say?

If heartbeats had a song,
what would they sing about?

If heartbeats had a story,
what would they write?

If heartbeats had a vision,
what would they want to see?

If we listened to the pause in between
breath, beating heart
what would we hear?

 

Simple Breathing Practice for Listening to the Pause.

1. Lay on a bolster with your head on a folded blanket. Allow your lower back to be free. You only want your lungs supported. If you don’t have a bolster, blankets rolled in thirds will work. Make sure your head is lifted, and the back of the neck long. Be comfortable, and feel a subtle lift in your heart center.

2. Extend your legs and open your palms up and out to the side.

3. Close your eyes. Allow your throat to be soft, have your tongue resting in the soft pallet. Let your body feel relaxed.

4. Begin to simply follow your breath. Some people like to count, others focus on the inhale or just the exhale. Follow your breath for a few moments.

5. Then, exhale out all of the air in your lungs.

6. Next, inhale deeply, pause for three counts, and then exhale. Repeat.

7. Practice in this way for 5-7 minutes listening to your breath, heartbeat, and the pause in between. Then, go back to regular breathing.

Ode to Pada, The Feet

You arrived flat-footed, without arches, a preference for being bare, to feel the earth on the sole. Translating to yoga practice years later, when I found you, feet, my foundation, my starting point. I have squeezed you into 4” stilettos, walked city blocks in slanted wedges, forcing my feet into odd shapes like that of foot binding. (Still can’t give up those heels.) Danced all night on the balls of my feet (starting at 15 except chuck taylors were my preference then), only to feel plantar fascia bind like glue seizing into a taught rope. (Yet, I still will dance all night.) Then at 6 am, I promise to stretch you. Open all the points of my body in activating you.

You have walked 32-years flat, and now as I feel the long awaited arch happen, I know your importance. You are the gateway, the ground of the first chakra, connecting to all points of the body, a portal sits at the center…and from here we can rise, from here we can dance, and align our beings to be in gravity.

I’ve worked my way down to you feet, to feel the ground again. It happened as I began to lift my arches, to lift my toes, to begin to use my feet, and make them strong. It was my teacher Timo who said, “lift your toes”, and I thought, “hmmm, okay, I can do this.” Little did I know the difficulty of lifting ones’ toes in every standing pose. From there, transformation happened, not just in the physical sense, as this is not what it is about.

The feet our are dharma, we can learn so much from the feet. If they are tight in one particular area of the foot, chances are we have a blockage somewhere in the body. My feet have been so tight and albeit weak, which has led to tightness in my breathing, and a sign that my parasympathetic nervous system has been compromised. Also, the left center of my foot is tight and sore on both feet. This relates to the kidneys, and my kidney qi is depleted from various life circumstances, and I have had lower left back pain for some time off and on. When, my kidney started to detox this exact spot of my foot began to ache as it released. If I practice broken toe pose each day, and lift my toes during self-practice grounding into the big toe mound and heels, I can open other areas of my body.

From re-starting at the feet, I began to breathe again in a way that was expansive.  My left kidney released a little more. Rising into sirasana came with less effort, as I extended my pinky toe and used my feet. And, I felt deeper openings and strength in my core.  More importantly, I felt more in my body and grounded. Today, my feet are my dharma, and they have taught me to be in my body, when so I often I flit in vata-dragonfly land.
It’s where it’s at-the feet-we work from the feet up. It’s where we start as Reiki practitioners, we ground from the feet before we begin to open and heal the other chakras. And, even the fashion junkie I can be starts her outfits with her shoes first.

Pada-Practice Tips

  • Broken toe pose: (also helpful for runners and athletes) Start on all fours (table pose), curl your toes under extending your toes, then slowly lowering your hips toward the lifted heels, rest onto your heels and mounds of your feet. You will feel your feet do a super stretch. You can put a blanket between the knees if you feel pressure or pain in your knees.
  • Virasana or Vajrasana; this will help to strengthen the foot and loosen plantar fascia
  • Lift your toes in all standing asanas on both feet, especially Virabhadrasana series and Prasarita Padottanasana
  • Supta Padangusthasana Series-use a strap around the big toe mound and pushing into the strap with the big toe mound creates resistance and activates the foot
  • The breath starts at the feet. Think of your breath starting here and bringing your breath into your body from the ground up through the chakras. (Realizing and then practicing this has made a difference for me.)
  • Activate the foot through the four corners of the foot, base of big toe, base of pinky toe, inner heel and outer heel…I like to see my pinky toe activated. It’s amazing what happens when we activate the pinky toe. Who knew it could be so powerful.
  • Ground into the heels in standing poses, you can feel this by lifting your toes.
  • Let the bones be heavy by grounding into them.