(guest essay by Evan Cooper)
Do you ever feel as though you’re not really in your body? Like the YOU in you isn’t quite connected to the physical world? Or maybe you’re all too familiar with that shaky, anxious feeling that plagues so many of us these days?
You’re not alone.
Everything feels unstable, as though the very ground below us could just disappear at any time (which, if you’re living in LA like me, is an actual concern).
But good news! A remedy exists that dates back thousands of years and still works today.
And all you have to do is kick off those suede ankle booties of yours and touch your barefeet to the earth. Stand in grass, dig your toes in the sand, walk through dirt. Hell, just get your mail without putting on your slippers and you’re actually doing your body and mind some good.
Despite it’s new age-y sound, Earthing is a legit, science-backed method to reducing stress, lowering inflammation in the body (the source of all evil), and feeling generally more contented.
As with anything, this comes easier to some of us than others. According Yoga’s sister science and the ancient Hindu system of medicine, Ayurveda, we are each composed of some combination of air, fire, water, earth, and space. Ideal health is established when we are able to balance these elements- or “doshas”- of our natural constitutions.
Turns out, I’m pretty much all air. Add a little life-induced anxiety to a system with an already restless nature and you’ve got yourself one hurricane of a lady (eg. moody, anxious, easily distracted, cold, shaky, even nauseous). Thankfully, some of my yoga friends introduced me to Earthing before I ever hit a Cat 5. (ps. When balanced, my “Vata” constitution lends itself to creativity, imagination, flexibility, ease, and grace).
But Earthing or “grounding” is not something that just Vata types can benefit from. In fact, touching the earth with our physical bodies is not only therapeutic; its necessary.
Because we all carry electric energy within our bodies, we must balance the over-abundance of positive electrons in our bodies with the negative charge of the earth, thus bringing our bodies back into balance.
Musician and shiny happy soul yogi Michael Franti even LIVES barefoot now. (Yes, I know, but there are so many pretty shoes in the world to wear!)
The hard truth, of course, is that there is no such thing as absolute constancy and consistancy in life— everything is subject to change at any time. But the practice of Earthing draws you back in the present moment. It shifts awareness from the “what if” to the “right now.”
Touching your feet to the earth, making that vital connection, may even have you asking yourself: why the hell didn’t I take off my shoes sooner?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Evan Cooper is a yoga teacher, wellness coach, writer, mama, seeker, dreamer.
She’s the author of Um, Like…OM: A Girl Goddess’s Guide To Yoga (Little, Brown & Co.)
She is currently teaching yoga in LA and penning her thoughts at www.spiritandsole.net and evancooper.com where she ruminates on being a “spiritual girl in a material world”™.