Mindful Matters (Grounding You)
Do you ever have those moments, days, or even months where you feel as if you are living life on a Ferris wheel, not able to get your feet on the ground? We have all been there, especially around the change of seasons. In the fall & winter, these feelings can easily intensify as the pressures of the holiday season rise.
My go-to technique, to get my "feet back on the ground", comes from an ancient Hindu teaching to balance your Root Chakra. Your Root Chakra is located at the base of your spine. When your Root Chakra is out of balance it can manifest in your life as stress, anxiety and in your body as weight gain, constipation, bladder infections, and sciatic nerve pain. When your Root Chakra is balanced you feel grounded, confident, passionate, sexual, calm and courageous.
The Root Chakra is also believed to throw off the function of the other 6 Chakras when it is not balanced. It can be thought of as the foundation of the function for your entire body. This translates directly to the teachings of Joseph Pilates. Joseph himself was not Hindi, and he may or may not have studied Yoga (there is conflicting information about that)-- Yet each of the exercises in the Pilates exercise system focuses on the pelvic floor (the "root") as the source of good movement and balance. He believed, as do we Pilates practitioners, that when our foundation muscles do not work properly there will be poor mechanics throughout the rest of the body, leading not only to physical injury, but also poor posture.
Try this technique to get or keep you grounded, and also to take your Pilates practice to deeper place. You will only need 3 minutes, longer if you choose.
Close your eyes. Hum the syllable, "LAM" aloud. Repeat for 1 minute. The hum sounds more like "Laaaaaaaaahmmm." When you arrive at the "M," gently close the mouth and feel the vibration between your lips. During your second 1-minute cycle, add in the visual of seeing yourself surrounded by the color red. This could be an abstract vision of a circle of red light shrouding you, or it could be more literal, imagining yourself wearing the color red.
On your third 1-minute cycle, hold a Kegel (drawing up the pelvic floor muscles) while you hum LAM and envision the color red. In yoga circles the action of doing a Kegel exercise known as mula bandha in Sanskrit and translates to "root lock".
I have found that three 1-minute cycles are a perfect way to start this practice. Once you feel comfortable, try doing longer sessions, or even multiple times throughout the day. You also can start right away with all 3 components; the hum, envisioning the color red and doing the Mula Bandha (Kegel), rather than layer them into cycles.
Location: Base of spine
Bandha: Mula Bandha (Root Lock)