Hello from the Big Apple.
It is hard to believe I have been in New York for over a year now! What a crazy, wild year it has been. And it passed so quickly. Do you ever feel like time keeps moving faster and faster? (I have some great tips on how to feel grounded in those situations so keep reading…) In many ways, I feel like I just left Brazil. But in reality it has already been almost 18 months.
Any move is a big deal and pretty stressful, but somehow this international move was much more intense than I ever expected it to be. In many ways, I have felt like I was on an extended trip, traveling this whole time. Only recently has New York begun to feel just a little more like home.
Last year when I first arrived in US after living abroad for almost 8 years, I still had commitments to fulfill in Brazil so I ran back and forth nonstop between continents, sometimes stopping in Brazil for as little as just a weekend! My husband and I were living out of suitcases and we had rental furniture for 4 months while we waited for our things to arrive from Sao Paulo. Our container with all of our things arrived the day before my in-laws came to visit. We were up to our ears in boxes and there was barely room to walk. Shortly after, my grandma passed away unexpectedly and I made two family trips to Seattle. Then, as I stood on a chair to check out my outfit in the mirror before boarding another plane (this time to LA) I fell and broke 2 bones and spent all of last summer in a cast. A couple months later I had to have an unrelated surgery! Life was trying to get me to sit still for a minute…but my list of crazy stressful circumstances went on and on…
It didn’t take long before I began to suffer from insomnia and anxiety attacks wondering how I would ever rebuild my life in this new city while facing one challenge after another. I developed pain in my knees and lower back and I experienced huge waves of exhaustion and fatigue. My appetite was inconsistent and my digestion was a wreck. I was constantly nervous and edgy and I recognized quickly that I was way out of balance – likely due to all the movement and changes happening within and around me – so I took immediate action to get myself grounded and start to feel like my normal self again!
So what does it mean to get grounded? Is it just another yoga cliché?
Taken literally, grounding is to feel your connection to the earth and move energy down (into the ground). This is not something we are usually taught! Society values evolution and moving quickly, swiftly, forward and up! But anything that is to be steady and sustainable must be built upon solid ground. Anything being birthed must move down and out. As we create a physical feeling of connection and groundedness, the nervous system also begins to relax and we feel calm and clear again. This downward flow of physical and mental energy also permits the digestive system to operate optimally and allows for more sound sleep.
When we find a connection to the earth, we connect to something much, much larger than ourselves. We begin to feel supported by life which allows us to relax.
Grounding leads to balance. Balance leads to more efficient use of personal energy.
Luckily I have my yoga practices and rituals to keep me grounded, even when things are changing nonstop all around me. I want to share with you a few of these grounding practices that can help you feel calm and connected – no matter where you are or what is happening around you!
Life is certainly moving fast and living in a big city further intensifies that feeling of constant flux. When there is a lot of movement or big change it aggravates what is called in Ayurveda the Vata-dosha. Vata means “that which blows,” and is related to the elements of air and ether. This energy becomes unbalanced for a variety of reasons, including stress, change, and the lack of a regular routine. 3 things that accompany any big move or busy travel schedule! When we travel a lot or make a big move (either literally like I did or a move between jobs or relationships) we may begin to feel ungrounded, anxious, or restless. It might create physical symptoms (like I experienced) that include constipation, insomnia, joint pain, and fatigue. One of the most important things we can do during these times is to use different grounding practices to balance the vata energy within us so that we feel calm, present, and at ease with the world – even when things get turned upside down!
Grounding helps put things in perspective in real ways. That’s the first part of the process; the second part is that it eliminates our stress and excess mental energy, helping us to relax and feel at home.
How do you know if you are ungrounded or suffering from a Vata imbalance? Here are a few clues to look out for:
- A feeling of being ‘Spaced Out’
- Heart palpitations
- Eyes flickering
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Noise and light sensitive
- Difficulty articulating ideas clearly
- Joint pain especially around low back/sciatic nerve and hips
Here are a few of the tools I used to ground myself and start to feel “at home” again in my own body.
Yoga Asana: The yogic approach to countering a vata imbalance involves slowing down, being more mindful, breathing smoothly and deeply, and learning to ground the feet into the floor. This isn’t always easy if you’re experiencing imbalance! A slow, quiet practice can feel like torture. When I am suffering from a vata imbalance or feeling wound up or anxious, I like to include a lot of hip-opening poses and thigh stretches in my routine to unlock key areas of the body that allow the excess wind energy (vata) to move downward which helps aid digestion, sleep, and an overall feeling of connection and safety.
An easy sequence to try at home might include: (click links to see pictures of each pose)
Other important practices to ground your energy if you are feeling scattered or frazzled include:
Triphala: this herb is an adaptogenic. It helps to tonify and heal the digestive system, which can get put out of whack when there is a vata imbalance. I buy mine in capsule form at www.banyanbotanicals.com
Eat Root Vegetables & other grounding foods: Legumes, Potatoes, Yams, Beets, Ginger, Carrots, Turmeric, Onion, Garlic, Sweet potatoes, Turnip, Jicama, Celery root, Daikon, Parsnip, Radish, Tapioca/yucca/cassava
Oil massage: Give yourself a slow and loving full body massage before taking a shower or bath. As a base, use sesame oil, which is warming and deeply nourishing. For extra healing benefits, try adding some essential oils like ginger, lavender or rosewood.
Drink tea: Make a warm tea of fresh ginger, cardamom and cinnamon to enhance circulation and digestion and help your mind to settle and ground.
“Get yourself grounded and you can navigate even the stormiest roads in peace.” ~Steve Goodier
These practices and rituals helped me to feel centered again in my body even as everything around me was changing. Although it did take a little while to feel settled and begin to build a life here in my new city, I can happily say that I now finally feel like New York is home. The greatest thing is that Brazil is also my home.
Once we learn how to feel at ease within ourselves, we can be at home wherever we are in the world.
Having a regular practice, a nourishing diet, and self-care rituals that support your unique body and life circumstance is essential to feeling grounded, energized, and at ease in the world. I would love to talk more with you if you want to learn more about how to create this for yourself. This session will provide deep awareness and clarity and you don’t want to miss it! I only have 10 spots open this month, so grab yours right now using this link:
I know you have a busy schedule, but I guarantee that this 30 minute session will give you more than one great “a-ha” moment about how to get grounded and feel more like yourself fast!
That’s 30 minutes of personalized, uninterrupted time with me without costing you a cent. (Normally I charge $97 for this same session!) I look forward to connecting with you! Don’t miss out, schedule your free session here.
Stay grounded and have a beautiful weekend!