When us yogis speak about being grounded, we’re talking about having a strong foundation within ourselves that allows us to feel firmly established and internally rooted, irrespective of what is happening in the external world. When a misalignment happens, you can find yourself in pain or generally out of sorts.
I think we all know when something isn’t feeling great within our body, but all too often we’re so deep within our own heads that we miss the physical signs our body is trying to communicate.
Becoming more present and physically aware is something that Cat Kabira understands. She’s a world-renowned yoga teacher trainer and master of the subtle energetics arts, and she spoke to me on a recent episode of the Lean In Podcast, to discuss how we can all reconnect with ourselves both physically and mentally.
Can You Feel Your Feet?
“Can I actually feel my feet right now?” asks Cat. When we’re in the mode of heightened emotion, I’m talking about the moments of overwhelm, confusion, huge hysteria or unshakable pain we’re in a state of discord.
When you ask yourself, can I feel my feet or legs right now? It allows you to check in to the thing that is planting you to the earth, and gives you a sense of grounding and foundation, “In terms of having that connection to the earth,” Cat explains “Keep your energy below your waist.”
Stress and anxiety are often the red flags that announce we’ve become disconnected from our bodies. The more rooted you feel in your body, the less stress and anxiety you experience.
Connect Further Into Your Body
Our bodies are amazing at giving us much-needed feedback. Have you ever heard the phrase, “In your body?” Trust me, when I was younger and inexperienced it didn’t really make much sense to me either. When I was asked if I was in my body, I just had the feeling of, “I’m sitting here in my body, damn it!” So, where do we even start to know if we’re truly in our body or not?
Cat suggests asking the simple question, ‘Is there more that you can feel?’
Think to yourself, is there more that I can connect with or feel. Cat remembers her first yoga class, where she was instructed to move her right hip. To which she thought “Right hip. Where is my right hip?”
It was this point she realised she was totally unaware of it, and she had to put her hand onto her hip, totally unaware that she wasn’t within her body.
Start with the obvious things to see how connected you are, can you feel your breath? What about your feet, are they on the floor? When you’re sitting in a chair, are you aware of your thighs and hips?
Redirecting your brain from the ever-expanding grocery list that we’re internally reeling off, or conversations we had yesterday and focusing your mental energy towards your physical body will allow you to expand and grow.
Swap Pain for Pleasure
Cat isn’t into pain, that’s something that she’s tried reassuring me about, “That’s what I try to tell people, I’m not actually into pain, I’m into the pleasure, but we’ve got to hang out with this stuff.”
One of the reasons that we’re not wholly within our body is because we’re disregarding something that doesn’t feel good. The way back in is through pleasure. “I’m not going to go into ‘where do I feel pain right now,’ because that’s not going to excite me,” Cat confesses.
You need to find that one pleasurable or neutral thing that you’re feeling within your body, and focus on that.
Keep getting distracted? From smelling an amazing tea to looking at beautiful flowers, finding pleasurable motives can bring your attention back if you find you lose your full focus too.
The Disease of Wanting to Belong Elsewhere
“The magic is in the here-ness,” Cat says and it’s certainly a phrase that we need to remember. Both Cat and I travelled the world, read the self-help books, visited the shamans and sought out gurus, and we’ve come to realise is, all we need to do is be here.
When we’re in perpetual seeking mode, we miss the beautiful details in life and aren’t truly in our body.
The root of this is part of not allowing self-acceptance, where your circumstances aren’t where they’re supposed to be. So, say you’re a mother and you’re desperate to travel, or if you’re single and you crave a family – it’s a disease that in your mind that you belong elsewhere.
Going through pinnacle events in life can often snap you out of this mentality, but creating a space where you can be present and grounded will allow you to appreciate your path during the day-to-day so much more.
We’re messy creatures, and when we’re consistently reaching out for the ‘perfect’ version of you, you’re missing the now. Cat explains, “I’m just a morphing rainbow of everything, we all are.” So embrace your technicolour self.