Held by the Earth
"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."
~ Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
At the beginning of this year, I decided that it felt important for me to take some time to reconnect with the elements. To get back to basics.
I started with the Earth element – taking a walk at a local nature center to reconnect with dirt, leaves, and tree bark. It was soothing to touch the soft reeds and to push my fingers into the cool mud.
At that time, my intention was to write every week or two. But, in the weeks that followed, my father passed away and the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed my day to day life (and probably yours too.) I was swept away in a current of grief, my feet no longer on the ground beneath me. Only a year ago, my family had gathered together for a laughter-filled Easter celebration at my parents home. Now I'd lost both of them within six months of each other. I was adrift.
The adult within me understood the inevitability of it all. All things must pass. So, I worked side by side with my family to sort through their belongings and take care of the things that needed taking care of.
The child within me sobbed and reached my tiny arms into the air, begging to be held. To be consoled.
Friends and family all reached out with love and compassion, but I found myself pulling inward. I longed for silence. I wanted to sit with my feelings. To have an intimate dialogue with them, out of the earshot of others. To really listen. It took time to make time to do this.
One of the ways that I spent that time was on my yoga mat. And one of the asanas (postures) that I was naturally drawn to was Balasana (Child's Pose). I love this pose because I find it deeply relaxing. There is something about becoming smaller, curling up like a child, that makes me feel calm and safe. I feel held by the Earth.
So as I continue my exploration of the Earth element, I share this posture with you. I invite you to try it. Spend a few minutes doing this posture this week - just once or maybe daily. Notice how it affects you and your sense of well-being. It might just help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety.
As with any physical practice, please consult your doctor if you have health concerns about doing something new. Never force yourself into any posture that doesn't feel right for your body. This particular asana may not be for you if you have a recent knee injury, low back issues, or are pregnant. I've also offered a few variations/modifications below. Do what feels good to you.
How to do Child’s Pose: Begin on your hands and knees - whether on a blanket, yoga mat or rug. Bring your toes together and place your knees a bit wider than hip distance (although you can keep them closer together if your hips are tight).
Sink your hips back towards your heels. If this is uncomfortable, place a pillow(s) or blanket(s) underneath the hips. Leave the arms extended out in front of you and relax the forehead down to the floor. Or rest the arms along side the body.
For those who are curious, here are a few potential benefits of doing Balasana (Child's Pose):
- Good stretch for the hips, thighs, and ankles
- Relaxes the front of the body
- May help relieve stress and anxiety
- Can be good for back and neck pain - May help with cramps
- May help relieve constipation
- Helps support healing and rejuvenation
Thanks for taking time to read my blog. Please post comments or email me to let me know your experience if you take some time to explore this asana. In the coming weeks, I'll be exploring the "energy" of the Earth element within the body. Until then, I send all my love to you and encourage you to get out in nature often. Reconnect with the Earth. Let it hold you and sustain you in these trying times.
I’m doing my best to take walks at least a couple times a week, if not daily. It helps to feel my feet on the ground. It nourishes me to feel grass under my feet. It lightens my heart to touch the soft petal of a rose. And it reminds me that I’m not alone each time I pass a stranger and we exchange smiles. Even if we must keep our distance for now.