Root Down to Rise Up

January 3rd, 2019

I was trying to transition from a tripod headstand into crow pose. After I brought my knees to my triceps, I just couldn’t lift my head off of the floor. Or if I did, I rocked backwards onto my feet. The woman next to me, an friendly, encouraging face from class, was making the transition perfectly.  I paused and asked her for advice. She offered some classic yogic advice: Root down to rise up.

Practically speaking, this means that I have a firm grounding on my mat. My hands are firmly pressed down, followed by forearms, biceps, shoulder girdle. This pressing down, or rooting, into my mat allows my upper back, my torso, my legs to rise up; to strengthen and inhabit space and feel large and strong. By trying to embody this advice, I soon found that I indeed could make the transition. I can root myself on the mat, and use that grounding to rise up into crow.

This yogic wisdom is helpful beyond the practice. This advice might be even more powerful in the world of emotion and self-love. To rise up through internalized oppression, we have to find something to root us down and keep us grounded and nurtured. To work through sexual and emotional trauma, we have to root down into the present, grounding ourselves, so we can approach difficult and triggering memories and work through them. If you deal with self-hate or believe that your unlovable, rooting down in self-compassion and positive relationships and can give you the grounding to rise up into self-love.

Experimenting and discovering the variety of ways you can root down, feel grounded and centered, can help you rise up. So I think my yogini friend is on to something. Whether it’s rising up into a challenging yoga posture or growing into you’re sense of security, confidence and self-worth, perhaps you’ll find her advice helpful too.

If you’re looking for a therapist in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC to work on trusting yourself, feel free to contact Mike Giordano at 202-460-6384 or

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