5 grounding yoga poses to root you to the present
For many, the ephemeral “present” seems like an unattainable place to live. So many of us spend the majority of our time thinking about the past or planning for the future. But there are a number of grounding yoga poses that can help.
As cliché as it may be, the present is really the only moment we have. It is where the magic happens and where life truly exists.
It’s moments of deep presence that keep us grounded and rooted to the essence of the wild ride of life. And thankfully, we don’t have to reach trance-like levels in our yoga or meditation practice to be able to connect to the present, as these five grounding yoga poses show.
Please note: these poses are intended as a general guide. Listen to your body and if you feel any pain or discomfort, bring yourself out of the pose.
Grounding yoga poses to connect with the present
If you’re feeling stuck in the past or too far ahead in the future, give these grounding yoga poses a try and feel yourself rooted to the present.
Sukhasana (Easy pose)
Sometimes, just being still is all we need to connect with the present. And this simple seat of meditation may be all that it takes to feel rooted in the now.
Find a comfortable cross-legged seat on your mat. You may wish to elevate your hips by sitting up onto a yoga block, bolster, or blanket to help find the neutral curvature of your lower back and release tension in your hips. You may also wish to place blocks or blankets underneath your knees for extra comfort
Create length in your spine. Root your sit bones down toward the floor and stretch the crown of your head toward the sky.
Soften your gaze or close your eyes and draw your awareness inside.
Follow the movements of your breath and slow its rhythm.
Simply sit with yourself as you observe your breath and watch thoughts pass through your mind.
Stay for a few minutes, becoming aware of the present moment.
Vrksasana (Tree pose)
Balance postures are excellent to draw your awareness to the present moment. Without a keen attention to the present, you’ll literally fall. Tree pose forces you to root down into your standing leg while simultaneously challenging your balance to create grounding in the present.
Start standing at the top of your mat with your feet roughly hip-distance apart.
Pour your weight into your left leg.
Spread your toes and root down firmly and equally into the mounds beneath your big toe and your pinky toe and the heel of your foot, creating a strong tripod base to balance on.
Rise to the ball of your right foot and steady your balance.
Bring your hands to meet in front of your heart.
Activate your core by cinching in around your waistline as if tightening a corset.
Focus your gaze on one, non-moving point in front of you and keep your eyes locked on that point as move into the pose.
Ground down into your left leg and lift your right foot off the floor.
Open your hip as you turn your right knee toward the right side of your mat
Either release the ball of your right foot to the floor and your heel to rest against your left ankle or place your whole right foot against your inner left calf or your inner left thigh.
Wherever you place your right foot, activate it. Press your right foot against your left leg, and using equal and opposite energy, press your left leg against your right foot. Let these forces counterbalance each other.
Root down against your left foot and lift and lengthen your spine.
Either keep your hands in front of your chest, or stretch your arms up overhead.
Hold for a few moments as you breathe deeply. Observe all the movement within the balance as you stay grounded to the present moment. Then, slowly release and switch sides.
Bakasana (Crow pose)
Another balance posture, crow pose may challenge you even more by forcing you to balance in a position that’s not often practiced—on your hands! This simple change in orientation and balance forces you to become fully present.
Start standing in the middle of your mat with your feet touching. You may wish to place a pillows or blankets in front of you to help soften any falls that may occur while you practice.
Bend your knees deeply and fold your torso forward.
Rest your hands roughly shoulder-distance apart on the floor in front of your feet.
Spread your fingers wide, with even space between them. Root down firmly into the perimeter of your palms and grip at the mat with your fingertips.
Lift your hips high and rise to the balls of your feet. Spread your knees apart and slide them up your arms as high as possible, reaching toward your armpits.
Squeeze your thighs in toward your upper arms and use the same amount of energy to press your upper arms back out against your thighs.
Press the floor away from you and slowly bend your elbows toward the back of your mat. Hug your elbows toward each other into the midline of your body.
Look forward and lean your weight forward in space.
Continue to lean your weight forward until your legs naturally become light and effortlessly lift from the floor.
Squeeze your heels in closely towards your seat.
Hold for a few long, deep breaths as you become fully present in the challenge of the pose.
Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand)
There aren’t many poses quite like inversions to make you snap straight into the present. Handstand forces you to flip your perspective and balance on your hands while maintaining a sense of calm and ease.
Start in downward facing dog. You may wish to place your mat in front of a wall for support in your inversion.
Walk your feet forward toward your hands until your shoulders align over your wrists.
Spread your fingers wide, with even space between them. Root down into the perimeter of your palms and grip at the mat with your fingertips.
Actively press the floor away from you to shrug your shoulders up closer toward your ears. Plug your upper arm bones snugly into your shoulder sockets.
Integrate your core. Imagine tightening a corset around your whole waistline and draw your navel in toward your spine and up toward your rib cage.
Lift up on your pelvic floor by drawing in on your muscles as if stopping the flow of urine.
Keep all of this activation and lift your right leg straight up toward the sky.
Internally rotate your right thigh so that your hips are level and your toes point toward the floor.
Rise to the ball of your left foot and shift your weight forward toward your hands.
When you feel stable, gently hop off of your left foot and draw your left heel toward your seat as you lift your right leg straight toward the sky or the wall behind you.
Root down against your hands to stabilize your balance.
If it feels comfortable, straighten your left leg to the sky and squeeze your legs firmly toward each other.
Stay for a few long, deep, fully present breaths before slowly releasing down.
Pause for a moment and then switch legs to hop up into your handstand again.
Savasana (Corpse pose)
Savasana is one of the most grounding yoga postures in the yogic repertoire, but it isn’t always easy to stay present in this pose. However, it is an excellent posture to practice and work toward being present.
Lie down on your back.
Walk your feet out as wide as your mat.
Allow your toes to turn out and your heels to turn in to completely relax your legs.
Release your arms by your sides with your palms facing up toward the sky as a symbol of surrender.
Close your eyes.
Relax the full weight of your body down into the floor.
Bring your awareness to your breath as you draw your consciousness into the present moment.
Relax into this pose for a few minutes as you surrender to what is happening in this moment right now.
Whenever your mind wanders, bring your awareness back to your breath to find presence once again.
Being present is often a daily struggle that isn’t always easy to achieve. Practices like yoga and meditation can help immensely to ground us into what is unfolding in the present moment.
Try these simple postures to ground yourself into the here and now and watch the magic that unfolds within the ephemeral “now.”
About Leah Sugerman
Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she writes about and teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied with a strong emphasis on finding the balance between strength and surrender. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings both online and internationally. Connect with Leah and follow her teachings and travels on Instagram, Facebook, and LeahSugerman.com.