How to Ground and Center

Three Parts:Physically Preparing to Ground and CenterGrounding and Centering Your MeditationPracticing Similar Forms of Meditation

Meditation is an excellent practice that can improve your physical, mental and spiritual health.[1] But if you are just starting to meditate, you might have some questions: How should you position yourself physically? What should you think about while you are meditating? The method of Ground and Center is one of the most tangible forms of meditation. Buddhists practice this form of "mental training" in order to connect with their physical environment and the spiritual energy of their surroundings.[2] Imagining yourself as a tree with roots, branches and leaves can help you connect deeply to the world around you and become more aware of the rhythms of your own body.

Part 1
Physically Preparing to Ground and Center

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    Find a quiet space. Meditation is most effective when you can find a quiet space with limited distractions. The space should also be physically comfortable, with no extreme temperatures, so you can focus on connecting your body to thoughts of peace and calm.[3]
    • If you are using a meditation space in your own home, you can prepare this in multiple ways to be your ideal space. Consider incorporating elements of nature in your space, such as hanging planters, artworks featuring flowers or a beautiful landscape scene, or a natural souvenir from a recent trip, such as a seashell or jar of sand from your favorite beach.[4]
    • If you are using your meditation space in a shared room (like a living room of home gym), consider putting up a screen to divide the space specifically for meditation.
    • Many colleges also offer meditation centers in their student life centers or in their university gyms. If you are a student facing the stress of mid-terms or finals, consider looking into whether your university offers a space like this.[5]
    • You can also use many beautiful spaces such as public gardens, parks or mountain trails if you are comfortable meditating in public. Many vacation destinations also offer meditation retreats, so you can even plan your next trip to help you ground and center.[6]
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    Root your feet to the ground. The process of grounding and centering requires that you become physically connected to the Earth. The most effective way to position yourself is with your feet directly touching the ground. Try sitting in a chair with your feet on the ground, about hip width apart from each other.[7]
    • You can also ground and center when you stand. Place with your feet hip width apart and keep your arms hanging loose and comfortable at your sides. While you should stand tall, don't keep your knees too rigid as this could make you dizzy.[8]
    • You might be tempted to lie down. If that is the position you are most comfortable in, then you should do this. But most practitioners suggest that grounding and centering works best when your feet are in direct contact with the ground.[9]
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    Practice better breathing. Deep breathing is a key component of meditation. When you are meditating, do not breathe through your mouth or from your throat. Instead, breathe from your diaphragm.[10]
    • Your diaphragm is located in your lower abdominal muscles (or your lower belly). As you inhale, push out these muscles and feel your rib cage expand outward.
    • Hold your breath for two seconds.
    • Exhale by bring your diaphragm muscles back inward to your belly.[11]
    • In this method, you are breathing in and out through your nose, not your mouth.
    • Breathing deeply from your diaphragm can effectively reduce stress and help you optimize the amount of the oxygen your lungs take in.[12]

Part 2
Grounding and Centering Your Meditation

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    Be mindful of your breathing. As you practice inhaling outward and exhaling inward. imagine that your body is going through a transformational process. As you inhale outward, imagine your body filling up with positive power. As you exhale and your push your abdominal muscles inward, imagine that you are releasing all of the negative forces in your life.[13]
    • Practicing this basic technique of accepting (inhaling) positive things and exhaling (repelling) negative feelings will help clear your mind for other calming thoughts.[14]
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    Imagine you are connected to the Earth. As you are breathing, close your eyes. Imagine your feet are rooted to the core of the earth beneath you.
    • Pretend that your feet are sprouting roots, as if they were at the base of tree trunk. These roots connect you to all other beings in the Earth -- the soil, the air, the ocean, animals, and the sun.[15]
    • You can also envision yourself as a vine growing up from the earth or a boulder on the side of the mountain. But it should be an image that anchors you to the world around you.[16]
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    Exert your energy downward. As you breathe out and in, and imagine your feet sprouting roots, follow where the roots take you. They should go down and down, further and further into the soil until you find yourself in the center of the Earth.[17]
    • What does the center of the Earth look like? Is it hot, with flowing lava? You can throw any feelings of pain, frustration, anger or bitterness into the fire at the center of the Earth.[18]
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    Push your energy upward. After you have grounded yourself, you can then push your energy upward and outward. Imagine your torso as the trunk of a tree that grows and then forms into branches. The branches then burst into leaves in the warmth of the sun.[19]
    • You can stand up for this part of the meditation if you wish. Raise your arms up above your head as if they are the main branches of the tree splitting off at the trunk.[20]
    • As you raise your arms, alternate keeping your hands curled up in a ball and then stretching your fingers outward. This will help you feel more connected to the warmth and energy of the sun.[21]
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    Feel your energy run from the roots to the branches. In this final phase of the meditation, you should feel a sense of connectedness between the roots of the ground and the branches of the sky. This will center you perfectly between the opposing elemental forces of the world: the earth and the sky.[22]
    • Try to practice the above process for at least three minutes, 3-4 times a week. With frequent practice, this method will feel more natural and you will be able to practice if for longer (ideally 15-20 minutes, or even longer if you wish).
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    Come back to stillness. As you finish the exercise, imagine all the connected energy contained in your toes, fingers, arms, and legs begin to contract in the center of your body in your upper abdominal muscles. Imagine that this is where you can contain your grounded, centered energy in your body.[23]
    • Ask yourself if there is a word or phrase that represents this grounded state for you? Having a word or phrase that brings you to this state of peace and interconnectedness can help you ground yourself quickly in stressful situations, like in the middle of a busy commute or when you have had a frustrating conversation with a coworker.[24][

Part 3
Practicing Similar Forms of Meditation

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    Connect to nature. The key idea behind grounding and centering is becoming connected with the world around you. You can practice this form of meditation in many different contexts.[25]
    • Enjoy the fresh air. Taking a walk -- even if it only for a few minutes -- can help you feel more connected to the world around you. As you walk around your neighborhood or favorite park, take notice of all the trees, plants, and any wildlife you encounter. Breathe in deeply and slowly.
    • Try not to wear headphones or listen to music while you are doing this as this can distract you from removing negative energy from your body and replenishing it with positive thoughts.
    • If you have a garden, spend time tending to your plants and foliage as a way of grounding yourself.[26]
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    Relax while you create. You might find that you can center and ground yourself while you are in the process of creating something. Perhaps you love to paint in a sunlit room, write poetry with your morning cup of coffee, or spend your weekend afternoons baking a favorite dessert.[27]
    • Practice your breathing while you perform these activities. As you practice them, consider how they calm you and connect you to nature and the rest of mankind. If you find yourself becoming frustrated and stressed, then stop and focus purely on breathing and centering yourself.[28]
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    Practice Tai chi. Tai chi is a series of graceful, self-paced movements that are meant to be physical accompaniment to your mental meditation.[29]
    • Tai chi is an ideal physical exercise for meditation because your muscles remain relaxed and loose as opposed to tense and stressed. Wear comfortable clothing when you practice this and it will help you reach a state relaxation and connectedness with both yourself and the world around you.[30]
    • Tai chi has also been shown to have benefits for a broad range of medical conditions, from breast cancer and heart disease to arthritis and hypertension.[31]
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    Keep a journal. Meditation is largely an act of reflection and a journal is a perfect place to calm and inspire yourself. There are many different things you can include in your journal, such as:[32]
    • Listing the things you are grateful for. When you are stressed, angry, or feel isolated, take the time to list the things you are grateful for in your journal. This will help foreground all of the positive elements in your life and help you release negative energy from your body.
    • Analyzing inspirational sayings. If you enjoy reading poetry, small quotes or even longer pieces of literature, you can use your journal to reflect on things that you have read. Write down the quote that struck you as important and then write 3-4 sentences on why you think this quote is important. How does it relate to you?
    • Setting goals and tracking your progress. If you have a particular goal you want to achieve -- for example, to become less anxious in work meetings -- then tracking your progress in your journal can help you take steps to accomplish your goal. Note the date on which you feel anxious (like during an important meeting on the rebranding strategy for a client), and then note how you handled that stress. Did you take a series of deep breaths? Did you repeat an affirmative mantra to yourself? How long did it take you to calm down?[33]
    • A journal can provide you a real sense of accomplishment while also helping you to remain grounded and centered in your present state.[34]

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