We all want to feel more grounded. When we’re grounded, we’re focused and when we’re focused, we’re more efficient and effective. When we’re more efficient and effective, we get things done in less time and that means more free time for the things we enjoy!
According to Ayurveda, when we feel restless, indecisive, unable to quiet the mind and unable to be still, we are suffering from an excess of Vata Dosha. This is sometimes referred to as Vata aggravation. For more information on the Doshas, check out this article.
When a Dosha is aggravated, it needs to be pacified and there are a few ways we can achieve this through our yoga practice.
Come into a seated pose on your favourite cushion or lie down on your mat with knees bent and feet flat. Feeling connected to the earth is incredibly therapeutic. Even if your mind is still making lists, the physical stillness will have a beneficial effect on your nervous system, shifting it from the Sympathetic Fight-or-Flight response into the Parasympathetic Rest-and-Digest response.
2. Slow Down
If meditation is not your thing, try a Yin or Restorative Yoga class or even a gentle or slow Hatha class. In Ayurveda, they say that moving too quickly in mind or body can cause symptoms that range from restlessness to full-blown anxiety. The slower we go, the more stable we feel in the body and the more quiet there is in the mind.
3. Alternate Nostril Breathing
It is said that this Pranayama, or breathing practice, brings balance to the mind-body system by balancing the two hemispheres of the brain. Why not test the theory yourself? Try it and see how you feel afterwards.
In Ayurveda, it’s understood that we regain balance in a Dosha by reducing the factors in our lives that are similar to that Dosha. Vata Dosha has many characteristics but the one we’ve focused on here is mobility. So, if there are aspects of your life that require you to move quickly, think quickly, multi-task and shift your attention from one thing to another without pause, consider how you can reduce the amount of time you spend on activities like this.
Consider where and how you can modify your day or work to bring a slowness and mindfulness to some activities. Can you get up 30 minutes earlier and have a slower more relaxed start to your day, sitting at the table and gazing out the window as you enjoy a hot beverage? Can you leave a little earlier for work so that you’re not racing on your bike or zigzagging through traffic in your car or running for public transit? Can you turn off your devices an hour before bed to give your eyes and mind a rest from the constant movement of shifting images?
If you can’t reduce the offending factors, then use the advice above to introduce opposite qualities – like stillness and stability – whenever you can.
Remember, it took a while for our nervous systems to become overwrought and develop these symptoms that resulted from hypermobility, so it will take a while to return to a more grounded, focused state of being.
What are your favourite practices for feeling more grounded and focused?
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