Winter Retreat Day 1: Grounding

Winter Retreat 2014: Sunday, February 23

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and we make each step with our feet. Our feet are the primary conduits between our bodies and the earth. Our feet are our roots, our ground, our foundation. The earth, our support, our mother, is the source of our life, and the geography of our path, wherever it may take us. And so, we begin by grounding, connecting to the source of our life and our spiritual path, by honoring our connection to the earth.


Body: Reflexology is an ancient and intuitive therapy that uses the feet, hands and ears as analogs for our bodies. Each section of the foot corresponds to a larger system or structure in our bodies. We can use reflexology to target specific areas to relieve headaches, menstrual cramps or joint pain. Today’s practice is a self-massage of the whole foot to achieve general relaxation and grounding.

Begin by sitting on the floor on a mat or pillow. Using your hands, start with the big toe on your right foot, pinching and releasing and gently twisting (like “this little piggy…”). Next, take your fingers of your left hand and interlace them between the toes on your right foot, squeeze your foot with a twisting motion and release. Squeeze in both directions, and release. Taking your thumbs, press into the pad of your foot and massage the entire bottom of your foot with small circular motions. Pause and press a little deeper in any areas that feel tender, and refer to the chart to see which body system that tenderness relates to. Repeat on the top and side of your foot. Finally, don’t forget the heel. Cup the heel in the palm of your hands, relax the ankle and passively rotate the foot clockwise and counterclockwise. Repeat everything on the left foot, starting again with the toes and working the bottom, top, inside, outside and heel.

Grounding breath: Stand (or sit) with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Imagine that your breath connects with the breath of the earth through the center of your feet; imagine that you are breathing through your feet. As you inhale, draw the breath up from the earth, in through the center of your feet, and up into your body. As you exhale, send your breath down through the soles of your feet and deep into the earth. Focus on your breath in this way for three cycles.


Mind: Today practice awareness of your feet – how you walk, how you stand, how you connect to the earth.


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