In yoga and mindfulness meditation a core teaching is the practice of ‘grounding’. Bringing our awareness, consciousness or spirit, what ever you wish to call it, fully into conscious connection with our whole body and the Earth beneath us is vital to our feeling safe and functioning effectively and constructively with our bodies, minds and our community. I feel so passionately that so many children are not given the time and space they need to ground themselves effectively in modern life. I believe this lack of connection to body and Earth causes a sickness of spirit which can affect their physical and mental workings, resulting in behaviours that often earn children the diagnostic labels that seem to be handed out more and more frequently. During my recent training with Special Yoga for children with ADHD and Autism the emphasis was largely on bringing the child’s energy down into the body with grounding postures, anchoring them in the here and now in a safe and non overwhelming space, connecting their awareness with their body, breath and the Earth. When this takes place children literally feel more at home, safer, more peaceful and better able to deal with the challenges life will inevitably throw at them.
In 2012 the US Journal Of Environmental and Public Health published an article about the importance of ‘earthing’ as they call it; ‘…emerging scientific research has revealed a surprisingly positive and overlooked environmental factor on health: direct physical contact with the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the Earth. Modern lifestyle separates humans from such contact. The research suggests that this disconnect may be a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and unwellness. Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being.’
Whilst science is bringing welcome new understanding to the knowledge of the ancient wisdom traditions, how we feel in our own experience can not be denied, and when we trust these feelings, we come into right relationship with ourselves and creation as a whole ….which feels good, natural and healthy ….which reflects in our physical and mental health.
When I take my daughters into the woods (sometimes despite their protests which you might relate to if you are a parent or work with children 😉 ), I see them relax; I see them feeling at home, exactly where they need to be, revelling in the moment’s freedom. We don’t go with a plan other than to explore with our senses and play. We give our thinking selves over to our deeper parts, to curiosity, instinct and intuition. We follow our hearts in the woods, rather than our minds. We are always delighted; literally feeling lighter and more ‘right’ within ourselves. We arrive ‘home’ with smiles on our faces.