By: Kelli Pitrone, Registered Dietitian & Vivante Health Nutrition Team Manager
Staying grounded and in the moment—that’s the goal, right? But with our to-do lists getting longer and longer, “me time” gets put on hold. We’re going through the motions without actually enjoying the day. The mind gets cluttered, our breathing is erratic, and we rush, rush, rush!
Taking time to ground ourselves on a daily basis can help to relieve stress and bring more purpose to each day. Let’s take a look at how yoga can help us do just that. But first, what do we mean by grounded?
Grounded for Life
Being grounded means feeling connected to our lives and being present in the moment. It’s so easy to let the day run on autopilot where we just go through the motions without actually being present—FULLY experiencing—what we’re doing. This can negatively affect our health in many ways. Poor sleep habits, bad food choices, skipping workouts …sound familiar? How can we stop this cycle and get grounded? One answer…yoga.
Yoga is clinically proven to help lower blood pressure, calm anxiety, regulate heart rhythms, and relieve postpartum depression. The calming effects of yoga on the body have also been shown to alleviate pain and improve emotional health. Basically, yoga is an amazing complementary therapy that can be used by itself or in combination with more traditional methods.
Yoga Philosophy: More than Movement
Yoga is a word derived from the ancient language of Sanskrit, and it means “union.” Although there are many definitions for yoga, our favorite is:
“…a Hindu philosophy that teaches a person to experience inner peace by controlling the body and mind.”
The practice of yoga seems daunting to many because it asks us to look within ourselves and reflect on our internal landscape. Why did I just snap at my coworker? Did I really just eat FIVE donuts? How did I forget that deadline?… Many of our day-to-day issues are caused by an internal disconnect. When we’re not in union with ourselves, it plays out in our daily experiences. Yoga helps teach us emotional and spiritual strength so that we can look within to bring calm and simplicity to all aspects of our lives.
Many people think of the active aspects of yoga, which are the exercises or “asanas,” the postures and moving parts of yoga. There are also two other important parts of a yoga practice, though—breathing and meditation.
Practice Makes Grounded
The different aspects of yoga give us many options on how we “practice.” A yoga practice can be a series of traditional poses, like we typically imagine, but it can also be practicing breathing techniques or even meditating. These are all yoga! They can be done separately or wrapped all together.
To help us stay grounded, this blog is going to focus on incorporating the asanas (aka postures) into our everyday lives. Once we’ve got that down we can start adding breathing techniques to the postures, and then move on to meditating before our posture and breathing practice.
Metaphor for Life
A good rule of thumb is to think of each yoga pose as a metaphor for life. If we can push ourselves to hold a pose and fight through all the inner dialogue telling us to give up or quit, we can translate that into our lives off the mat.
One Note About Habits
Being grounded relies on the practice of habit—getting into the flow of doing something on a daily basis so that it becomes something we can count on. Taking 20 minutes for yourself, preferably in the morning, to do the following yoga poses will help you form a healthy yoga habit.
Downward Dog (Adho mukha shvanasana)
Stand flat-footed on your yoga mat or any comfortable surface. Bend at the waist bringing the palms down to the ground. Place the palms firmly into the mat with fingers spread wide apart. Walk the feet back so you are in a V-like position. Press the heels down bringing them as close as possible to mat.
Take your hands and knees down to the mat so that your body is in a tabletop position. Pull your belly button to your spine creating a strong core. Let the belly drop down while arching the chin up and tipping your head back; inhale. Pull the belly in arching the back while the chin dips down into the chest; exhale. Flow back and forth between these two poses.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Stand firmly on your mat with all four corners of the feet connecting with the ground. Spread your toes wide and allow your shoulders to roll back as if you are perfecting your posture. Let the palms turn forward. Engage your thigh muscles and feel the muscles of your thighs externally rotating and creating a stronger pelvis and hip area. Close your eyes and breath.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Take your hands and knees to the mat in a tabletop position. Allow the hips and butt to rest back, sitting your butt on your heels. Your palms should remain connected to the mat, fingers spread wide. Allow your shoulder blades to relax down your back, pulling the shoulders away from the ears. Rest your forehead on the mat.
Getting started with yoga isn’t hard and it can truly change your life for the better, including your digestive health. You deserve a fulfilling life, and we here at Vivante are committed to helping you achieve that. Please be in touch with any questions or feedback. We’re here for our members 24/7!
About Vivante Health
Vivante Health is an innovative digital healthcare company reinventing the way chronic conditions are managed. Our mission is to fill the unmet needs of people living with chronic conditions that are invisible, neglected, or stigmatized, starting with digestive disease. Our health management ecosystem, GIThrive™, empowers people—through brilliant technology and advanced science—to spend less time worrying about their digestive condition and more time living life.