Anyone who has ever attended a yoga class or who is at all familiar with meditation practices has likely heard the term, "ground and connect." For those of you who may not be as familiar with this terminology, it simply means to ground below and connect above, or, another way of saying it might be to root yourself in reality (or this physical world) while tapping into something that is beyond this physical world.
In yoga, there are several grounding poses or positions. The Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) pose is a very popular grounding yoga position that connects our two feet to the earth providing us with stability and safety. This posture is connected to the Root Chakra which is all about feeling grounded and safe in our family, community and overall surroundings and is very much connected to our survival.
In yoga, there are several ways to connect to that special something that is greater than ourselves and proper breathing throughout a yogi's practice is a wonderful way to incorporate that within every movement.
A popular yoga pose that accomplishes both the "ground and connect" is the Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana). This pose reminds us through our Crown Chakra that our intention is not only to connect to the Divine (God, The Source, Collective Conscious, All-That-Is) but that we are still rooted to this planet.
Now, if you're anything like me, standing on your head with beautiful balance isn't exactly an easy thing to pull off. While I admire a good headstand and a classroom full of students who have this mastered as much as the next gal, I'm the first to admit that I hit Child's Pose when this portion of the Yoga class is reached to keep the risk factor for me and others to a minimum. I ground and connect in other ways and a very popular way for me to achieve this is in meditation. I visualize a grounding cord rooting down from my Root Chakra into the earth and allow my Divine Connection to come from my Crown Chakra up into the Divine Grid (Universal Field, The Force, God's Channel).
One day, while I was in a nice meditative state, I asked to be shown an image, set of images or motion picture scene that would help me to better understand and explain the importance of both grounding below and connecting above. The imagery that I received was perfect and made so much sense to me. So much so that I had to write this blog to share it with all of you who may be just as curious.
The first image that I saw was a tether ball. For those of you who are unfamiliar with a tether ball, it's an inflated ball, much like a soccer ball, tethered at the top of a long pole with either a rope or chain. I took this image to represent a connection that exists only from the top or above. In my mini movie, the tether ball had nice momentum when it was swinging effortlessly around the pole with good form and nice rhythm - in short, when things were smooth and easy it moved smoothly and easily. Then the circumstances began to change. The next image that I was shown was a tether ball blowing wildly in the wind during a hurricane which quickly morphed to someone punching the tether ball against its natural flow. The symbolism was clear. Metaphorically, that poor tether ball was jerking and flying out of control in times of unpredictability or hard times (the punch), or heavy change (the hurricane). I took that to mean that only being connected at the top meant trouble in hard times from lack of being grounded or slightly flighty on normal days.
Ok, the tether ball analogy made perfect sense. I asked for the next image to come round things out.
The next image I got was of a soccer ball. This was clearly going to be my lesson in grounding. The soccer ball was pretty much grounded to the earth at all times with a few exceptions - whenever a toss or kick was involved. The obvious lesson about the soccer ball was that the moments of elevation, or being lifted towards something higher or greater, are limited and short-lived before gravity takes over to ground the ball again.
Ok, the soccer ball analogy also made perfect sense. So, in my first set of images, the ball is solely connected to the top while in the second set of images, the other ball is pretty much grounded to the earth. What was clear about my lesson so far is both balls have their set-backs.
The next image that I saw in my meditation literally brought the whole lesson together into a perfect little package with a big red bow on top. The final ball that I was shown was a double-ended speed ball. For those who are not familiar, this ball is tethered to both the floor and the ceiling, or above and below. It is used in sports like martial arts and boxing for the sake of increasing balance, agility, precision, power, endurance and strength. (Arguably, all wonderful life skills to have, by the way.) When a double-ended speed ball is punched, it doesn't go floundering off into space like the tether ball because it is grounded from below; rather it comes back to position and quickly finds its center. And, because a double-ended speed ball is elevated off the ground, it allows better incorporation for all kinds of exercises and techniques that we wouldn't be able to have if the ball were simply laying on the ground. The double-ended speed ball is both elevated and stable.
I ended my meditation with loads of gratitude and a big smile because I had just been downloaded a fresh perspective of an idea that has been around forever, and I always love it when that happens.
Are the tether ball, soccer ball and double-ended speed ball incredibly simplistic metaphors for the benefits of grounding and connecting ourselves? Of course, but I also think they may help us to understand the importance of grounding and connecting in a whole new way. Some people are grounded below but not connected above and miss the benefits of bigger thoughts or more divinely inspired ideas or actions. Other people are mainly connected at the top and therefore miss the benefit of being grounded to keep from flailing, which is so important, particularly when times are tough. It's wonderful to be connected at the top (the idea factory) where great downloads and a-ha moments happen...but we need to be grounded as well so we can move those ideas out of the idea factory and into the manufacturing plant (base chakras) otherwise we won't ever truly get anything done.
If we stand as beings on this planet between the heavens and the earth, doesn't it stand to reason that we should be connected to both? I encourage you to think about ways to implement these connections, be it through yoga, meditation, or being in nature with an intention. Here's an idea if yoga and mediation aren't your thing; try standing barefoot in the grass while reaching up to the sun while visualizing roots coming out of your feet and breathing in the sun's rays while holding the mantra, "I am beautifully connected to the earth below and the heavens above." However you choose to do it, I encourage you to make it a regular practice in your life so that you can be like that double-ended speed ball that says, "I am elevated and stable, and no matter how hard the wind blows, I quickly find my perfect center between two worlds."
Dawn Culp. © Copyright, 2015, The Zen Room.