Jody has been a massage therapist since 2003. She loves being able to share her experience in alternative healing modalities to help others.
If you have ever read any books on energy work, martial arts, or even meditation, or even just talked to someone about one of them. You have probably heard of grounding and/or centering, but many times it’s not something that gets explained. Basically it is connecting to something, generally the Earth (it's energy anyway), so that you have a feeling of "rootedness", balance, and solidity.
There are many different ways to ground, or center (as many people use the terms interchangeably), yourself. Everyone uses a slightly different technique. Sometimes it can also depend on what you are doing. Mostly though, it is personal preference in what feels best or works best for you. Below I will share a few different techniques I have used throughout my years of practice.
Note: Below when I say stand comfortably you do need to make sure that your feet are about shoulder width apart and your knees are slightly bent, not locked. You also want your tailbone slightly tucked; you may feel like you are pulling up the front of your pelvis. This is your body’s most natural and aligned position. If you feel uncomfortable in this position it is generally because your muscles have gotten used to being in a different position due to your habitual posture. Most of the time when you are in this position the muscles in your body will relax because they are not working against gravity to keep your body upright and balanced. Also, when standing just let your arms and hands hang at your sides.
Your shoulders shouldn’t move much when doing this type of breathing. It also shouldn’t feel forced. Rather than focusing on moving your belly with your breath, just be aware that it is happening as the air flows in and out of your body. You don’t want to focus so much on it that you start tensing up.
One very important component, especially when first starting out, is breathing. You want to have deep, even, natural breaths. Not only does deep natural breathing relax your body, but it also calms your nervous system. You will notice as you practice deep breathing that you have less stress in general and your breathing will slow because you are taking deeper breaths.
Here are some things you can try to both see if you are breathing deeply and to train yourself to breathe deeply. There is more information on this in my article The Power of Breath.
- Put one palm on your belly and rest the back of the other on your lower back. As you breathe feel your hands being pushed out with each inhale.
- Lie on your back with a straw in your mouth and rest your hands on your belly. Inhale through the straw and out through your nose. Your hands should float up and down with your belly as you inhale and exhale.
- Sit upright, close your eyes, and imagine a glass tube that connects the back of your throat to a balloon in your belly. With each inhale imagine that balloon inflating, and deflating with each exhale. What color is your balloon?
- Lay on the floor or bed and put a book, rice bag, or something with some weight to it on your belly. As you inhale make sure that the object moves up and as you exhale it moves down.
- Imagine that there is a wooden barrel around your midsection. With each inhale feel your belly, sides, and lower back expand to touch the inside of the barrel.
Be Like A Tree
When you think of things that are grounded, one of the first is probably a tree. So let’s start with that.
- Sit or stand comfortably but make sure your spine is straight. If you are standing, have your feet about shoulder width apart and parallel to each other and your knees slightly bent so you know they are not locked.
- Close your eyes and take deep, even, natural breaths.
- Imagine you have roots like a tree that go deep into the ground. Feel them growing deeper and deeper.
- Feel the pulse of the Earth’s energy in your roots and through your body just like the deep thump of a slow steady heartbeat.
- Feel your roots expand out in all directions, anchoring you to the Earth. You might bend and sway like the branches of a tree in the wind, but nothing can uproot you.
- Absorb that feeling when you open your eyes try to carry it with you with each step you take.
A Mountain Or A Stone?
Another thing that reminds many people of being solid or centered and grounded is a mountain, or even a boulder or small stone. There are many ways to do this. Below are a couple of them.
This is one that might be easiest to use outside or to have a stone to hold or touch.
- Sit comfortably and check that your breathing is deep and natural.
- Feel the solid Earth beneath you. Think of how solid and immovable things of stone are. Feel that solidness pour into you and solidify, like you are becoming stone.
- Feel how the wind cannot move you. Feel how water cannot move you. Feel how everything just flows around you, but you are solid and nothing can disturb you.
- Feel the peace of just being such. Absorb that feeling into you so no matter how hectic things are around you can bring up that feeling of stillness and groundedness.
This one is a little different. It generally works better standing, but can be done from most positions.
- Sit or stand comfortably and breathe deeply and naturally.
- Feel the part of you that touches the ground become heavy like it’s a weight or it is stone-like.
- Feel how solid that makes you. You don’t have to worry about losing your balance or being knocked over.
- Feel that sense of solidity flood through your body. Absorb it.
- Practice keeping that sense with you whether you are moving or still.
The String Thing
This one may sound a little strange, but it works very well. It is especially helpful, I have been told, for people that classify themselves as Air personalities or “air-heads”. I know of at least one person that would feel like she was always flitting from one thing to another and had a hard time concentrating who found this one very helpful. This one is best done standing, but can be done sitting as well.
- Stand comfortably and take deep natural breaths.
- Imagine a string with a weight tied to it hanging from your tailbone and going deep into the center of the Earth, pulling you down.
- Imagine a string coming from the center of the top of your head and going up into the heavens, pulling you up.
- Feel how straight and tall it makes you. You are connected to the Earth and grounded, but also hanging suspended from the heavens. You float there effortlessly.
- Focus on keeping that feeling as you move. Feel how no matter what you do or how fast you go, that string moves with you and keeps you attached to the earth.
- Note: If you are feeling stressed you can imagine it bypassing you and draining from your body, down that string, and into the Earth; or if things keep trying to distract you, imagine them bypassing you and flowing out the top of your head, up the string, and away into the heavens so they don’t interfere with what you are trying to do.
The power of water is something that we have all seen or experienced. If you have ever stepped on a hose to build up water pressure to spray someone with, or even just held your hand under a faucet that is turned on full blast, you have felt this power. This is the grounding power we are looking at. Not only can it be a very grounding exercise, it can also be cleansing and refreshing as well.
- Sit or stand comfortably and take deep natural breaths.
- Imagine standing under a waterfall.
- Feel the power of the water push down on you, holding you to the earth but not crushing you, and flow over you.
- Now feel the water flow through you. The pressure is gone but it is still grounding you to the Earth by the force of the water rushing through you and into the Earth. It’s like your body has become tunnel or hose that the water is shooting through. You are strong and immovable unless you want to move.
- For cleansing: Feel the rushing water pour through you, washing away all stress, all pain, everything you want gone. Feel it being cleansed away by the sparkling pure water.
As with anything the more you do it, the easier it becomes. With practice you will be able to ground yourself anytime and anywhere. It also becomes easier to do it with your eyes open as you practice more. Eventually you will be able to ground yourself with just a couple breaths.
A Guided Meditation for Grounding
© 2013 Jody Cope
MysticMoonlight on July 19, 2013:
I certainly will, jacope! :)
Jody Cope (author) from Missoula, MT on July 19, 2013:
Thanks Marsei. Meditation has a lot of benefits. If you like walking or being out in nature, walking meditation is fun too.
Sue Pratt from New Orleans on July 19, 2013:
I like the tree technique and incorporated it into my meditation. I will try the others also. Thanks for these ideas. I am only recently learning how important meditation is. The hub is written well and organized well. I'm voting it up.
Jody Cope (author) from Missoula, MT on July 18, 2013:
Thanks MysticMoonlight. Please let me know how you like them if you try them. I would love to hear what your experiences are with them.
MysticMoonlight on July 18, 2013:
These techniques sound wonderful. I use the tree/roots technique and it works fantastically. I really like the mountain and the waterfall suggestions and think that I may give those a try. Great Hub :)