I was delighted when my good friend Bernadette McBride, founder of The Hedge Arts project asked me to collaborate on our upcoming Wuthering Heights Writing and Wellbeing Retreat. In addition to being the a scholarship holder for a Creative Writing PhD and writing her debut novel, Bernadette pitched the idea of Hedge Arts – a social enterprise which combines creative workshops with green projects – and was immediately awarded funding because, you know, she’s amazing.
Her research focuses on our connection and disconnection with the natural environment, which really resonate with me as I see yoga and nature as one. We and nature are one. If we fall out of alignment we connect with the earth in Mountain Pose, we balance in Tree Pose, we salute the sun and we move with clean, fresh breath. Through meditation we experience an inner awakening, like a bud slowly blossoming. In mindful moments, we embrace the beauty and the wonder of nature.
At the retreat we’ll practice a ‘grounding’ yoga session amidst the ruins of Top Withens – the inspiration for the location of the Earnshaw family house in Wuthering Heights, connecting with the landscape and with the imagination and soul of Emily Bronte.
Grounding poses help us to stay centered amidst life’s challenges and help us regain emotional stability. When we’re stuck in our head and not seeing clearly we need to send our energy downwards…there’s a good reason people say ‘calm down.’
As we root to the earth we feel confident, strong and stable. This grounding exercise in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) perfect as part of a sequence or simply on its own:
- Stand on your mat (or outdoors on a firm surface) with your feet hip width apart, toes pointing forwards.
- With awareness, lift and spread the toes, and release them onto the mat.Lift the heels and as you release, focus on all four corners of the feet grounding evenly into the mat.
- Bring your arms down by your sides, palms facing forwards
- Draw down through the heels and up through the kneecaps (don’t lock the legs) and draw the inner thighs towards each other
- Tuck your tailbone and lift up out of the waist.
- Feel a lift in the crown of the head and drop the shoulders, drawing the shoulder blades towards each other.
- Tuck the chin slightly to achieve length in the back of the neck.
- Close the eyes. Inhale for a count of three and exhale for a count of five.Repeat for a few rounds of breaths.
Love the benefits of Tadasana:
- Reduces back pain
- Improves posture
- Strengthens ankles, knees and thighs
Love your body:
- Do not practice if you are suffering from low blood pressure, headaches or dizziness.