If you have been practicing meditation or yoga for some time, you will probably be familiar with the term “grounding.” Yoga teachers are likely to use it during specific asanas, and it often comes up in guided meditation recordings. However, grounding is different from mindfulness, and it is crucial to understand the differences between the two.
Mindfulness is the practice of welcoming thoughts and sensations while being paying attention and intention into a moment. Instead, grounding encourages you to focus on physical sensations and feelings to limit interrupting thoughts. Grounding can be both mental and physical.
Naturally, both mindfulness and grounding can be extremely beneficial in your practice. However, you might decide to opt for one rather than the other one because of the differences – find out how below.
Mindfulness vs Grounding: Understanding Your Practice
If you have been meditating or practicing yoga, you would have met terms such as grounding and mindfulness. It is undeniable that these two practices can bring endless benefits, and they should represent a significant part of your practice. Nonetheless, there are also some substantial differences that you should take into consideration when opting for one over the other.
Mindfulness is the practice of increasing awareness in a moment, action, or event. Through mindfulness practice, you can learn to control a specific situation and act with intention.
There is no right or wrong when it comes down to practice mindfulness. You might decide to incorporate it into your meditation practice or yoga flow. However, you might just opt to use a moment in the morning for journaling or focusing on the day ahead. It will help you put more intention into your actions and focus on every moment.
Mindfulness has been seen to help reduce conditions related to stress, anxiety, and mild depression. Even as little as 20 minutes a day of this practice incorporated in meditation can yield excellent results. However, you might consider a similar, and, at the same time, profoundly different, practice: grounding.
The most significant difference between the two practices is that, in mindfulness, you will always try to return to your breath while still allowing thoughts and emotions to come through. In grounding, you will be putting all of your attention on a specific physical sensation. This technique will enable you to stay away from disturbing, painful, or stressful thoughts.
You can find out more about grounding in the video below:
Grounding: An Overview
Grounding, sometimes referred to as Earthing, can be practiced through yoga, meditation, or just with actions throughout the day. You can practice grounding for only a few minutes every day, or you might opt for longer sessions.
Grounding offers you similar benefits to the ones you would be able to enjoy through mindfulness. It can help you keep stress and anxiety at bay while allowing you to focus on the present moment. However, it also allows you to focus on a physical sensation rather than breathing or emotions.
Thus, grounding can offer help to those individuals suffering from PTSD, trauma, and panic attacks.
Find out more about this technique below.
What Is Grounding?
As seen above, mindfulness is about focusing on the present moment and acting with intention. However, when practicing mindfulness, you will also be welcoming thoughts and emotions. Indeed, it can be extremely challenging to cut all of these out when you are meditating – especially when you are new to the practice!
So, when you start to meditate or bring mindfulness into your life, you will be dealing with interrupting thoughts during your practice. It is all normal, but it can be frustrating.
That’s where grounding might be a viable option for you. When practicing grounding, you will be focusing on one sensation that is relatable to one of the five senses. It might be something you see, hear, touch, or feel.
For example, you might start to focus on the feeling of the wind against your skin, the noise of the coffee machine pressing your Americano, or just how the sofa feels underneath you. If none of these techniques are accessible to you, you might decide to pick up items around you, focusing on the sensation they create. This strategy is known as sensory awareness.
Ultimately, grounding is an excellent way to bring your full attention to a physical sensation. In turn, this will prevent interrupting thoughts from getting in the way of your meditation or mindfulness practice. That is why this technique is particularly suitable for those struggling with bad memories or upsetting events.
Benefits of Grounding
Grounding has been seen to be useful for several conditions and disorders. However, if you are looking for the best option between grounding and mindfulness, the former is more recommendable for specific conditions.
- It might relieve chronic fatigue: a 2018 study shows that just four weeks of grounding and mindfulness practice can reduce fatigue and pain levels.
- It can ease anxiety, stress, and depression: grounding can improve mood, lift morale, and improve motivation.
- It can help with sleep disorders: grounding can affect cortisol levels, which, in turn, can decrease stress.
It has also been seen that long-term grounding practice can help you reduce the effects of hypertension, improve the cardiovascular system’s health, and reduce pain.
There are several more benefits of bringing mindfulness and grounding into your life. However, it is crucial to pick the right type of practice for your goals.
Mental and Physical Grounding
Just like for meditation, here are different ways to approach grounding. Many practitioners opt to walk barefoot or touch other objects and materials. However, grounding can be physical or mental, and it can change significantly depending on who is practicing it.
Additionally, not all types of grounding will offer you the results you had hoped for. Below you will find what you need to know about the different ways to practice grounding.
Using Meditation for Grounding
One of the best ways to enjoy mental grounding is through meditation. Some guided meditation techniques can help you feel more relaxed, focused, and aware of your surroundings.
When practicing meditation with the idea of grounding, you can anchor your mind to the present moment and to the sensations your body feels. In turn, this can help you keep upsetting thoughts and emotions away from your mind.
There are several types of meditation you could practice to experience grounding. Not all of them might be as suited for the objectives you have in mind. However, you can experience mental grounding through visualization and body scan.
These are types of meditation accessible by most yogis and focus on something other than the breathing.
The 5-4-3-2-1 technique
If you are just approaching grounding, you might not know which one is the best technique for you to use. However, both beginners and experts can benefit from the 5-4-3-2-1 method. This strategy represents an accessible way to cut out worrying, disturbing, and painful memories while giving space to a moment of focus and relaxation.
This technique is particularly suitable for individuals who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. Indeed, you will be able to cut scary emotions out and become more grounded in the present moment.
Find out how to perform the 5-4-3-2-1 technique below.
- Start by sitting or lying in a comfortable position.
- Slow down your breath and focus on your exhales and inhales. This step will allow you to calm down and help you focus on the exercise ahead.
- Start by focusing on FIVE things you can see around you. These might include your desk, a painting, a tree, or anything visible in the surroundings.
- Bring your awareness on FOUR things you can touch. These might include a pillow, a yoga mat, or just the ground under your feet.
- Continue by focusing on THREE sounds or things you can hear. Any present sound outside of your body counts.
- Bring attention to TWO things that you can smell. Go on your terrace or garden if you are looking for more scents.
- Focus on ONE flavor or something you can taste.
As you can see, this technique is accessible by everybody and can be performed everywhere in under five minutes. It is an excellent way to shift your attention from worrying thoughts to others, more comforting feelings. In turn, this can help you remain anchored to the present moment.
Using Yoga for Grounding
When looking into physical grounding, yoga is the first type of exercise that comes to mind because of its mindfulness aspect. When practicing some kinds of yoga, you will be working towards the sensations of the mat under your feet, palms, or buttocks. In specific asanas, you can strengthen the connection with the floor, focus on your body, and control the breath.
Practicing yoga is one of the physical techniques you can use for grounding. This type of exercise is significant in moments of stress and anxiety. During these times, it is easy for our bodies and mind to enter the Flight-Fight-Freeze stress reaction.
These reactions might worsen our mental and physical health, but you can go back to ground yourself in the present moment through certain yoga practices.
Why Is Yoga So Beneficial for Grounding?
Unlike other forms of exercise, yoga truly encourages you to connect to your breath and the body. Through these practices, you will become more grounded and connected with the environment around you.
Practicing yoga with the precise aim to become more grounded can help you deal with several health conditions ranging from high-stress levels to blood viscosity. Find out how to bring this goal into your practice below.
Yoga Poses and Sequences for Grounding
Some of the best asanas to feel more grounded during your practice include:
- Tadasana (Mountain pose)
- Balasana (Child’s pose)
- Vrikshasana (Tree pose)
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge pose)
- Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstands)
- Savasana (Corpse pose)
- Marjaryasana/Bitilasana (Cat/Cow)
- Utkatasana (Chair pose)
- Utkata Konasana (Goddess pose)
However, you should also keep in mind that you can bring a little more grounding into any asana you include in your yoga flow. You can do so by building stronger foundations during your practice.
There are several techniques for this, including:
- Spread your palms and fingers wise when practicing postures that require you to have your palms in contact with the mat. These might include a multitude of asanas, from Downward dog to handstands or arm balances. Grounding through the palm will create a channel of energy through the center of your hand and the ground.
- In standing poses, including mountain pose, tree pose, chair pose, or even Warrior I and II, focus on your feet. You can start grounding through the entire surface of the soles. Ensure the whole feet are active and grounding and bring you awareness to the heels, balls of the feet, and even toes.
- Choose to keep your knees bent in all poses. This choice will increase your body and muscle weight, which is not as supported by the bones.
Is It OK to Do Yoga Every Day?
As we have seen, yoga can be one of the best practices to include in your routine if you wish to become more grounded and connected to the present moment. Nonetheless, not all yoga styles are so suitable for all practitioners, and physical characteristics and goals can make your practice unique.
So, if you are wondering whether it is OK to practice yoga every day, you won’t be able to receive a simple answer. Instead, it is worth considering all those influential factors that will make a difference in your practice. Find out more on how to practice more yoga for grounding and mindfulness below.
Not All Beginner Yogis Are the Same
If you have been looking up guidance and indications for yoga beginners, you would have found contrasting information. Some might encourage you to practice every day, while others suggest taking a break or limiting your practice to a few hours per week.
It is essential to understand that not all yoga beginners are the same. Indeed, every person approaches a moment in a different stage of life. Some start when they are teens, while others are older adults trying to find a therapeutic practice.
Of course, yoga is a practice designed for everybody to enjoy and access. However, it is crucial to modify it according to individual needs. Ultimately, the reason why a beginner has approached yoga is one of the aspects that matter the most.
For example, if you are doing yoga to increase your muscle mass, feel fitter, or increase your balance, there is no harm in practicing daily. However, if you are dealing with the aftermath of an injury and you are looking to find a restorative, peaceful practice, then you should limit it to a few times a week.
Keep in mind that, in yoga, rest is a vital part of your practice. Indeed, even spending time in Savasana (Corpse Pose) allows you to absorb the work you have done on your body in the past days. So, if you are looking for therapeutic practice, you might just spend time here!
The Type of Yoga Matters
The type of yoga and your level of fitness will also influence how often you should practice. If you have always been exercising and living a healthy lifestyle and looking for a way to relax your muscles, you might incorporate a few minutes of yoga every day at the end of your practice.
Oppositely, if you are recovering from an injury, you should always practice with an expert teacher next to you.
Keep in Mind Your Goal
Depending on what you wish to obtain out of your yoga practice, you can flow every day or 2-3 times a week. You might also consider mixing several types of yoga to obtain the full spectrum of benefits from it. Some of these might include yin and restorative practices and faster-paced ones such as Hatha, Vinyasa, Hot Yoga, and Power Yoga.
Other Grounding Techniques
Of course, yoga is a crucial activity when looking for a way to practice mindfulness and feel more grounded. However, there are also other techniques that you might use. Indeed, yoga is not always easily accessible, especially when you are at work or out and about.
Other techniques you can use for grounding include:
- Put your hands in water or hold ice
- Pick up or touch items near you
- Play a memory game or use maths
- Use visualization
- Cuddle your pet
- Listen to music
- Take deep breaths
- Savor a food, scents, or drink
- Take a short walk or move your body
- Listen to what is around you
- Opt for a body scan meditation
When it comes down to pick between grounding and mindfulness, it is crucial to understand the difference between them. Indeed, both mindfulness and grounding are extremely beneficial practices. They allow you to increase awareness of the present moment while keeping at bay feelings of stress and anxiety.
However, if mindfulness allows these thoughts to flow through you, you would stick to a physical sensation in grounding. This technique can help you keep painful or disturbing thoughts out of your head to help you relax and fight panic. Grounding can be mental and physical and can be practiced through yoga.