Get Grounded

It’s time to get on the ground! Researchers have found that in cultures where people routinely sit on the ground, individuals are more limber and have less knee and joint problems. The act of getting on and off the floor help people stay more balanced on their feet. Try some of these floor exercises.

Start in a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the ground. Your fingers should be pointing forward, and the palms of your hands should create a seal to the floor. Inhale and curl your spine to the ceiling, arching like a cat. Exhale and release your front body toward the floor while maintaining your strong abdominals for the cow portion of the pose. Be sure not to sink into your shoulders. Repeat cat/cow for 10 rounds.

From cat/cow, move into plank position by keeping your hands in place and moving your body weight onto your toes. Your arms should be perpendicular to the ground and your body straight from head to toe. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. If you start to shake, attempt to stop by thinking about wrapping your muscles around your bones. Try it—it works! From plank, move into side plank by stacking your left foot on top of your right foot. The right side of your right foot is making contact with the floor. Place your left hand on your left hip. Your right hand should come straight down from your shoulder and be under your right ear. Lift your hips toward the ceiling. If you need a little help lifting your hips, take your left hand to your right hip and give a little adjustment up, then return your left hand to your hip and then extend your arm up with strong fingers. Stay here for up to 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Move onto your back. Lying with your arms by your sides and your feet on the ground, you should be able to just barely touch the backs of your heels with your fingertips. Inhale and curl your tailbone up, just slightly. Exhale and release to neutral spine. In this move, you are warming up the lowest and least flexible part of the spine, and you are also engaging your abdominals. As you inhale and curl your tailbone, think of squeezing your abdominals. This tiny crunch targets your lowest and deepest abdominal muscles. Do 10 to 15 repetitions.

From pelvic tilts, move your arms straight out from your shoulders and take your legs straight up to the ceiling. Point your toes. Take your feet one inch up like you have a needle on your toes and you are popping a balloon. This action should be fierce but small. Release down. The key here is to go straight up and not back toward your face. Don’t worry if you don’t get it on the first try—this exercise definitely takes practice. Do 20 to 30 repetitions.

Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine. Happy grounding!

About author

Haley Greenwald-Gonella

Haley Greenwald-Gonella is a certified registered yoga teacher (200 RYT) with Yoga Alliance. She began dancing at the age of 3 and played flute and bassoon while growing up. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in dance and English. She has her master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from the University of Southern California. In addition, Haley is a director focusing on technology and innovation in the beauty sector.