“ground down through your heels”

Today was the 29th day of my 30-day Bikram Challenge. I’m thinking about doing a “double” tomorrow, but don’t want to commit to that because it sounds kind of wonderful and also kind of terrible. I’m loading up on coconut water, fruit, and staying well-hydrated today just in case.

Dancer Pose (standing balance); flickr image by jjay69

During class today, the phrase, “Ground down through your heels” stood out to me several times. The moment when a yogi understands the way that the heel can be used to activate the leg is the moment when legs get stronger and balance improves. It is a transformational moment for the yogi.

Today, I took the instructor’s advice and noticed how soothing it was to ground down through my heels. The standing series in Bikram yoga is also the cardiovascular part of class, meaning that you’re working really hard and your heart is beating like crazy. Between poses today, the instructor continually encouraged us to “ground down through the heels.” I found that this cue not only helped with my posture, but it also created a neurological response that calmed me and calmed my rapidly beating heart.

I do not understand the physiological reasons behind this calming response, but I think part of it has to do with reconnecting with the ground in a mindful way, in a way that is soothing and, perhaps, symbolic of the umbilical cord–the source of life, energy, and love.  When I am grounding down through my heels, I am reconnected to the earth, the one thing most of us are almost always connected to. I am reconnected with the energy of the earth and the energy of those around me. I am reminded that I am connected to the earth and connected to everyone else who is touching it. I am reminded of the energy transferring between me and the earth and everyone else, and that process has had an incredibly calming effect.

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