This post comes from our contributor Kristen Hedges.
With Earth Day fast approaching (tomorrow!) & spring sending shoots of color and light across the ground, it’s the perfect time to disconnect yourself from screens & florescent bulbs, and reconnect with Mother Earth. Dirtying your toes and making skin on soil contact with the planet will heal your mind, your body, and your spirit, all at once. Plus, with the added awareness that hey, there’s actually a planet down there, you might make some Earth-friendly choices when it comes to your diet & lifestyle.
So peel off your shoes, let the sun turn your shoulders pink and freckled, and spend a bit of time practicing yoga in the wild. These four asanas are sure to make you feel grounded & connected to the Earth.
Tadasana (Mountain Pose). A powerful Goddess, standing tall.
Come to standing, with your feet nearly touching. The bases of your big toes may brush against each other. One by one, lift and spread each toe, and then place them back again on the ground, feeling completely rooted down. Inhale here, grounded, and strong. Notice the subtle straightening of your spine, the weight of your arms. Allow your shoulders to fall away from your ears as you open up space in your collarbones. You may turn your palms outwards.
Notice the energy here; the powerful connection from the Earth, to your feet, through your legs, your torso, around into your arms & out through the crown of your head.
Vrksasana (Tree Pose). Reach your roots down; stand tall, balanced.
From Mountain pose, shift your weight to your left foot. Ground down. Notice the prints on your toes. The subtle curves and rough spots on your skin. Distribute your weight evenly – to each toe; between the heel, and the ball of your foot.
Now, hug your right knee into your chest for a moment before extending it out to the right. Tuck your right foot onto your left calf, or your thigh, and bring your hands to heart center. You might wobble a bit, sway in the middle, but be comforted by the idea that trees stay rooted down, no matter how fierce the wind blows.
Rest here. Inhale deeply, exhale fully. Try to pick up the smell of new leaves in the air. When you’re ready, bring your knee back to your chest, give it a squeeze goodbye, and then send it back down to the Earth. Repeat with your left side.
Ustrasana (Camel Pose). Open heart; spacious mind.
At sunrise, or when the sun is high above you, bend yourself into a beautiful Camel pose, allowing the light to warm up the dusty spaces between all your ribs.
Come to your knees, with your palms gently resting to support your lower back. Pad your knees with a blanket, if you’d like. Slowly, on an inhale, begin to lift the crown of your head towards the sky, straightening your spine. As you exhale, arch back, using your hands as support. Drop the crown of your head down. If it feels okay to you, slowly reach your hands back, one by one, to find your heels.
Rest here, breathing into the deepest part of your lungs, noticing the softness in your heart, the warmth as the light leaks in.
To come out, inhale once, and bring your body back forward on an exhale. Come to your hands and knees, savoring the opposite stretch as you tuck your belly in & turn your chin towards your chest.
Balasana (Child’s Pose). Bow deeply to Mother Earth; feel free, here. Wild.
If you’re outside, find a nice, flat spot to come onto your hands and knees. Allow your knees to spread out a bit wider than your hips, bringing your toes together behind you. Now, slowly, lower your sit bones down & rest them on your heels. If you’re having any discomfort here, you may slip a blanket between your heels & your bottom for a bit of extra support. Reach your hands out long, spread your fingers wide and enjoy the extra space between them all. Gently kiss your forehead down to the Earth.
Neck long, belly loose, breathe deeply with gratitude and regard for the constant support of the planet.