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Feeling and realizing one’s connection with the Earth is something I emphasize repeatedly in my yoga practice and classes.

I am always reminding my students to be mindful of their connection to the ground and to really feel it under them. I do this so that my students as well as myself become mindful of the importance of being fully present. This also helps us to understand that we are all a part of something much larger than ourselves. We all exist in a collective system of living things, all depending on one another, usually without even realizing it.

I do my best to incorporate this idea of connection and mindfulness throughout my day, on or off the yoga mat. When I am walking through a forest, swimming in the sea, taking a stroll in the rain or climbing up a mountain, I take the time to stop and look around me. I notice the Earth beneath my feet, the breeze in the air, the warmth of the sun on my face. I hear the birds and monkeys in the trees. I see the insects zipping past my feet. I remind myself to be present. To enjoy each moment, and to smile in my own existence. I find this is especially helpful in times of stress. When I am frustrated or sad, I simply must look around and show gratitude for my life and all the things that are beautiful in it.

In yoga we hope to encourage this physical sense of grounding, as well as an emotional and psychological grounding, by combining breath with the movements of the asanas. As we transition between asanas we continuously practice mindfulness in re-establishing our connections.

Some ways to be aware of your connection to the Earth while practicing yoga are by first focusing on your feet. Are all your foot and toe pads pressing equally into the mat? Is your weight evenly distributed between your legs and feet? Are you standing tall and elongating your spine? Are your shoulders rolled back and down in a relaxed posture? Is your core pulled in and flexed?

Starting with these body positions will help you start to feel what a correct connection feels like.  It will also help you to have more proper alignment throughout each asana.

The more you practice being mindful of your connection to the Earth, whether in a yoga class or taking a walk around your neighborhood, the more your balance will start to improve, and your state of awareness will increase. Connecting to the Earth is a lifelong process and something we should always work to be mindful of. The more often you remind yourself to be aware of it, the more natural it will become.

Take the time to slow down, feel the Earth under you and find joy in your surroundings.