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We may not be able to affect what is happening around us but we can change the way we react to it. These words ring loud and true in these uncertain times. With the on-going concerns about our safety and the state of the country, it’s hard not to feel completely ungrounded.

Life is always in flux, and change is really the only constant

When our external circumstances seem to be shifting the ground underneath us, we begin to recognize the transient nature of our existence. Life is always in flux, and change is really the only constant. This can be both comforting and unnerving. It should be comforting to know there are Stress Management practices that can help you navigate these cycles of change and act as supports for your ungrounded feelings.

Walking Meditation

A way of affirming our connection and relationship with the earth. By walking slowly with awareness, we find the ground beneath us and we turn our attention to the connection of our feet to the earth. It’s in that moment that we not only find our connection to the earth but we find our connection to this very moment. Even our awareness becomes rooted in the moment. Each step calls us to the NOW rather than letting the mind fast forward to the “what ifs” or rerun “what has been.”

The minute the mind drifts to the future or past our walking becomes unsteady. We are constantly brought back to this moment when we drift off and lose our balance. Each step becomes a reminder of now is where we are and now is all we have. If we try to escape from this moment, we are left feeling even more ungrounded and unsteady. But if we settle in and soften to what is right in front of us, we meet this moment and ourselves head on.

Walking Meditation Practice

  • Stand in a comfortable position. Unlock the knees and grab one wrist behind the back. Let the gaze drift downward without lowering the chin. Relax just as you are.
  • With each slow conscious step, connect with the feeling of the earth beneath your feet, with the breath passing through the nostrils, with the feeling of the air on the skin.
  • Let your mind and heart rest right here in this very moment, without pushing away what is uncomfortable or trying to hold on to what is. Try to sit in the uncertainty of this moment without the drama.
  • Walk for 5 to 10 minutes and then rest.

Seated Forward Bends

These allow us to surrender to the moment wholeheartedly. When we sit still and let ourselves feel the support of the earth beneath us we develop a sense of stability and safety. As we surrender forward, the heart and the mind rest in that deep well of stillness that is created when we let go. As thoughts and feelings come and go, we return to the silent support of the earth without being pulled into the ups and downs of life’s roller coaster. We remain grounded and calm.

Seated Forward Bend Practice

  • Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Let your legs and sit bones descend into the earth as if you are growing roots. Feel the support and steadiness of the earth and relax into that support.
  • Once you feel connected, reach the arms out and up and then surrender forward from the hips, sliding the hands down the legs to find that edge of comfort/discomfort.
  • As you find your comfortable edge, deeply let go every time you exhale.
  • Practice surrendering to what is without wishing or wanting things to be different. Let go of anything you are willing to let go of, anything you don’t need physically, mentally and emotionally.
  • Allow the breath to be smooth and even. After several breaths, slowly slide back up the legs and relax. Notice a sense of grounding and calm.

Two to One Breathing 

This breathing technique actually trains the exhalation breath to extend twice as long as the inhalation. This stimulates the relaxation response by up regulating the parasympathetic nervous system. It calms the mind and lowers heart rate. When the mind is calm the body settles. As the body becomes weighted and substantial, there is an opportunity to fully inhabit the spaces of body, grounded and calm.

Two to One Breathing Practice

    • Begin by lying down or sitting comfortably.
    • As you breathe, let the breath become long, slow and smooth. Begin to keep a gentle count when you inhale. Let the exhale extend longer.
    • Over several breaths the exhalation begins to extend twice as long as the inhalation. You can even imagine the exhale breath moving from top to toe.
    • As the exhalation lengthens, begin to envision the breath reaching down into the earth sending your roots deep into its core.

With all the drama happening in the world now and always, I will be practicing these grounding techniques so I can stay calm and centered, no matter what is happening.

What will you do to stay grounded?

Contributed by

Susi Amendola
Stress Management Specialist

What have you done to remind yourself of the things that have meaning for you?

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