wanderlust whistler: 10 benefits of grounding in nature
posted: August 3, 2014
“We are addicted to tension. It’s familiar.”
When internationally renowned yoga teacher Seane Corn made this statement during her Energize & Renew class at Wanderlust Whistler, something within me jerked. She was so right. I thought about the pace of my life, and how, when it did seem to slow down, I’d find myself feeling I needed to fill the void. Sound familiar? During a 6am sunrise hike, I learned more about a practice that can help.
Within Whistler’s peaceful forest, Brooklyn-based yoga teacher Nicole Lindstrom talked our group through a series of ‘grounding’ visualizations, which she defines as the practice of physically connecting with the Earth to eliminate foreign (and often destructive) energies within the body.
Over bowls of oatmeal post-class, Nicole shared her thoughts with me on the specific benefits of grounding in nature.
1. Get deep. You can ground on a plane, in your bedroom, anywhere! But when you’re actually affixed to the Earth through the soles of your feet, visualization of the natural elements becomes more potent (and therefore more effective).
2. Disconnect. The visualized images that are necessary to disconnect from your day, be it the shining sun filling you with its energy, or the power of an imaginary cord and boulder anchoring you to the Earth, are easier to construct when you’re immersed in the environment. From nature, we can draw strength by connecting through our feet to this planet beneath us.
3. Outdoor energy. A typical home is jam-packed with ‘stuff’ and destructive, stressful energy. When you separate and get into nature, you’re free of all emotional connections. Energy-wise, it’s cleaner outside.
4. Heal your mind. We all hold on to pain in our physical body. Pinpoint and eliminate it through grounding. Stressed at work? Focus on those feelings. Connect to them and ground them down through you, into the stable Earth (a process that’s easier, of course, when led by a teacher). Through repetition, you can holistically improve these types of ailments.
5. Strengthen your mind. If you believe you’re healthy, your chances of being so are greater. When author, motivational speaker and Wanderlust regular Dr. Wayne Dyer was diagnosed with cancer, he told himself he was well every night before bed. He refused to say he was sick because thoughts manifest. Your mind has the power to change the outcome of your health; even Buddah says: ”What we think, we become.”
6. Be present. If you’re going through life feeling scattered and flighty (for example, you’re in the shower and all of a sudden wonder, “Have I already shampooed?!”), grounding is a simple way to bring you into the moment and make you mindful of where you are and what you’re doing.
7. Shake your guilt. Can’t shake the guilt from a past experience? The Earth’s powerful magnetic pull, along with grounding and visualization can help you let it go.
8. Alter your perspective. Grounding on a mountain like Whistler is a humbling reminder of how small we really are in the big picture. The practice will leave you feeling as if your problems are surmountable.
9. Have more fun. Contrary to what you may think, it’s easy to become ungrounded during a festival like Wanderlust…there is so much to do and see! Taking the time to separate from the fun environment and ground yourself in nature will allow you to experience the weekend from a calmer headspace and to be uber observant.
10. The benefits of grounding according to Seane Corn:
“If I’m not grounded, I can be very reactive. And when I’m reactive, I can get critical, judgmental, short-tempered, withdrawn. When I’m not grounded, I can get overwhelmed by my big feelings. In the past I’d turn to food, drugs, alcohol and sex to anesthetize these. I don’t pretend they don’t come up, but if I’m grounded, I can not only tolerate the experience, but use it as a way to grow. Grounding every single day is an essential part of how I show up in the world. I’m constantly working with nature to absorb energy and to use that creative force as a way to be more sustained and nourished so that I can do better work in the world.”
Erin is a contributing food reporter for CTV Morning Live and The Rush on Shaw TV in Vancouver. She is also the banana bread-loving owner of To Die For, an artisan baked goods company specializing in premium loaves (don’t miss her lemon loaf, either). Find her restaurant and recipe recommendations on Twitter, or follow her on Instragram.