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Article: How we can embody and integrate earth in our yoga practise

Article: How we can embody and integrate earth in our yoga practise

As we approach Earth Day (22nd April), it presents a timely opportunity to connect with the theme of earth in our yoga practise.

What can we transfer from our yoga practise into our relationship with the earth?

Our days can often be consumed with being busy and planning ahead. This can keep our attention quite narrow and disconnect us from our bodies (our individual homes) and also from our universal body (the earth). Practising yoga is a way of returning to the individual homes of our bodies which creates a bridge to reconnecting with our universal home of the earth. As we engage with our bodies, our awareness can broaden making us more observant of what is happening around us.

When we practise yoga we can connect more deeply to our ‘felt experience’, a fundamental sense of how we are feeling in the ‘here and now’. As we establish this profound awareness we might understand more clearly what we need and how we might support ourselves so we can continue to thrive. Let’s expand this to the earth, so when we connect with her we can also identify what she needs to flourish.

Practising yoga is an opportunity to cultivate listening to the subtle states and nuances in our body. We create an embodied mindful state where we are in continual communication with our body, adapting the practise to how we are feeling in the moment. As we interact with the earth, we can also become more attuned to her. Let’s notice the impact of our actions and the changes occurring around us, and let’s explore how we might adapt our relationship to her.

In yoga we often explore the importance of aligning of our body in relation to the ground. We are invited to approach our bodies with attentiveness and compassion. On earth day, let’s take a moment to consider our alignment with earth. Let’s give her the same attention and kindness that we are encouraged to show our bodies when we practise yoga.

During standing poses, we speak about the importance of a strong foundation and rooting down into the earth. This gives us an opportunity to find balance and sustainability in a pose. So let’s nurture and water the roots of the earth so everyone can have a strong foundation and receive the benefits of a more balanced earth. Let’s ensure those foundations are continually looked after so our future generations can enjoy her beauty.

When we come to relaxation during yoga we often invite the ground to receive us and to absorb any tension, stress and fatigue. The earth does an amazing job of supporting us and holding us but like any container, for her to carry out her work most efficiently and sustainably she too needs to be nourished, well replenished and cared for.

10 ways to embody Earth in your practise:

- Take a brief body scan or feel the touch points between your body and the earth before moving.

- Begin your sequence on your back on the floor where you can maintain a sense of your body being connected to the earth.

- Practise without a mat or outside so you can truly feel your connection to the earth when you move. Immerse yourself in the smells, textures and sounds of the earth around you.

- Move and stretch spontaneously from all fours. Imagine you are exploring the earth like a child filled with wonder connecting with her for the first time.

- Stand in mountain pose. Visualise your feet rooting through the ground like the roots of a tree and visualise a flow of energy radiating up from the ground through your body.

- Practise in different corners and spaces of your mat to ground yourself in different directions of the earth.

- Move in a slow, even and considered manner, taking time to evolve postures. Bring particular attention to how your feet and hands arrive at the floor as you transition through poses.

- Integrate standing postures like tree and balancing warrior as a way of exploring your balance on earth, finding a space where you can create a sense of stillness and centeredness.

- Towards the end of the practise, come to a child’s pose or lie on your front connecting your head to the ground which can create a deep sense of oneness with the earth.

- Finish by setting an intention for how you want to connect with the earth, planting it like seed into your consciousness – ‘I am grateful for this beautiful earth that is my home, and I will do my best to treat her in the same way I would like to be treated – with love, honour, integrity and kindness’.

>>Slow Grounding Flow with Clive Fogelman>>

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