Ground Control


By Andrea Ferretti; Sequence by Elise Lorimer  |  

Can you find space and quiet within, even in the midst of your busy, dynamic life? That’s the idea behind this practice by vinyasa flow teacher Elise Lorimer.

The intention is to help you feel rooted in your sense of center while you cultivate spaciousness within—but the approach isn’t static. Instead of restorative yoga or long holds (often thought to be the most grounding), the flowing sequence of postures repeatedly alternates between dynamic movement and stillness. “If you can learn to harness your energy and find your center during dynamic poses, you can find that same quiet, still place when the external world threatens to throw you off balance,” says Lorimer.

As you move through the sequence, Lorimer suggests that you feel your feet rooting into the earth. “We often forget that the portal to getting grounded is through this body,” she says. At the same time, feel yourself expanding toward the sun through the crown of your head. Imagine drawing energy in through your feet and your crown throughout your practice, and feel how the earth and sun connect in your center. Most important, be compassionate with yourself, especially during the more intense poses. Says Lorimer, “If we can learn to be generous with ourselves, we’re more likely to be that way with everyone we come in contact with.”

Home Practice

To Begin: Sit in a cross-legged position and connect to your breath. Inhale and send roots down through your pelvic floor into the core of the earth. Exhale and draw the sun in through your crown to your heart. Stay for a couple of minutes; find stillness within.

To Finish: Come back to sitting cross-legged, eyes closed. Appreciate the space created within and drop into deeper stillness. Stay for 3-5 minutes.

1. Standing Sidebend

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Anchor both feet equally into the ground. Raise your arms overhead, turn your left palm out, flex the left wrist, and grab it with the right hand. Inhale and lengthen skyward; exhale and lean to the right, gently lengthening your left arm with your right hand. Breathe deeply into your left side. Take 3 breaths. Lift back to center and repeat on the other side.

2. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

Kneeling on all fours, press into your palms, curl your toes under, and lift your knees, drawing your hips up and back. Balance between grounding into the earth with your hands and your feet, drawing awareness in through the bones of your arms and legs. Breathe easily and fully, releasing tension and finding grace.

 

3. Extended Warrior Pose

Step your right foot between your hands; rotate your left foot out and place your heel on the floor. Harness the power and stability of your legs and core to draw the right hip back and the left hip forward. Lift your arms by the sides of your waist and connect to your core. From the back shin, extend your arms forward; gaze forward. Feel a line of energy from your back leg through your belly, front spine, heart, and pinkies. Maintain inner awareness and take 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

4. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I)

You’ll flow between poses 4 and 5 to open and lubricate your hips. From Extended Warrior, inhale, lift your torso, and bring your arms up overhead.

5. Riding the Wave

Exhale, take your hands to the floor inside your right foot, turn to the left side, and draw your left heel slightly in. Keep your hands on the floor for support if you need to. Inhale and move back to Warrior I, spinning the left heel down and dialing your right hip back under you. Flow between Warrior I and this position 5 times on each side. Then come to Down Dog for 5 breaths.

6. Elephant Pose

From Down Dog, walk your hands toward your feet and roll up to standing. Bend your knees, anchoring your coccyx toward the earth. From your core, lift your torso and heart. Press your palms together, place the tips of the thumbs on your third eye, and draw your elbows together. Your arms act as your elephant trunk. Release your shoulder blades down your back and lift your breastbone and elbows. Gaze out in front of you, feeling grounded and confident. After 5 breaths, stand up and lower your palms to your heart for a few more breaths. Repeat 3 times.

 

7. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend)

Step your feet wide apart. Interlace your fingers behind you. Inhale and lift your chest; then exhale and fold forward, bringing your hands over your head toward the floor. Ground through your feet and shinbones; release tension from your neck and shoulders. Stay for 5-10 breaths.

 

8. Chest-Opening Twist

From Prasarita Padottanasana, place your hands on the floor and turn your heels slightly in. Bend your right knee deeply while turning your left toes up. Hover your sitting bones above the earth and get heavy in your coccyx. Draw your inner thighs to the midline. Tuck your right arm and shoulder around your right shinbone, pressing the right leg into external rotation. Take your left arm behind you and clasp your left wrist with your right hand. (Or simply place the fingertips on the floor in front of you.) Find the balance between doing and being; appreciate the wisdom your body has to offer. Breathe. Repeat on the other side.

 

9. Goddess Pose with Twist

Stand with your feet a little wider than your hips and turn your feet out about 45 degrees. Gently press your hands on the insides of your knees while dropping your coccyx down. Extend your spine forward, parallel to the floor. Inhale and draw the belly toward the spine; exhale and rotate your torso and heart to the right, left shoulder down, broadening across your chest. Inhale and return to center. Exhale and rotate to the left. Connect to the ease and balance in your body as it moves through the transitions. Repeat 5 times.

 

10. Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Revolved Head-of-the-Knee Pose), variation

From Goddess, jump your feet wider, bend your right knee, and squat down until you’re sitting on the floor with your left leg extended and left toes pointing skyward. Lengthen your spine, hold on to your right ankle with your left hand, and lift your right arm overhead. Press your right knee away from your midline. Draw your left shoulder in front of your left leg and roll the right side of your heart to the sky. Connect to gratitude through your breath. Take 5 breaths, come out, and, when ready, repeat on the other side.