Exploring and deepening my connection to the earth has been a big part of my journey over the years.
I’ve always felt grounded. People have commented on my solidity, my steadiness, my ease with the physical world. Partners have found my presence stabilizing and gravitated toward me for this. Clients, too.
And I have always felt relatively steady under stress.
I get stressed like anyone else, but it doesn’t usually unground me in the same way—I don’t get flighty, distracted, or visibly anxious. I tend to just buckle down and take care of business, perhaps clenching my teeth a bit or tightening up my jaw and shoulders…
My feet are very wide and ground into the earth. I go barefoot a lot in all seasons but winter.
I love the feeling of my feet and my hands in the earth.
I’ve always been more in touch with the physicality of living—with wood and stone, food and drink, paper and pencil—than with feeling energy or stepping out of my body. I haven’t wanted to. I like being in earth in my body. I feel real.
Nonetheless, I seem to have been invited to a next round of grounding exploration, to a deepening of my embodied presence.
And I’m trying to understand how it relates to my inner experience of already feeling grounded.
I’m wondering if there are two types of feeling grounded—a more yin and a more yang grounding.
If I think of it this way, then what I am cultivating is yin grounding.
I know how to be steady, solid, and stable in my doing and support of others. What I don’t know how to do very well is to release, sink, surrender, drop into the ground, and just be.
For the first time in 30+ years, I was drawn last year to engage in some vocal coaching, in order to access more of my voice, in particular, the more earthy qualities.
As I explore what it means to bring more grounded presence to my voice, I find it is the yin ground that is missing. I can’t open the low part of my range without relaxing and releasing. The vocal folds need to, literally, be more relaxed to vibrate more slowly and access the lower tones!
My body has also let me know, through a series of aches, pains, and minor ailments, that I need to learn to find yin ground in my pelvis as well. I am learning to sink, to drop down, to release held tension in the exercises my PT gives me and in the holistic pelvic care I have recently embarked on. It seems I need to learn more about presence here, too, in order to release pelvic tension and realign my pelvis and keep my pelvic floor healthy, flexible, and resilient.
Unfortunately, I can’t make yin ground happen. Heaven knows, I’ve tried!!
And it seems my yang ground
can’t create yin ground.
So, I practice.
Exhaling to release held tension in pelvis, pelvic floor, hips, throat, shoulders, voice…
Dropping my awareness into pelvis, legs, feet, fully supported by the earth, so that I can release the tensions that hold my pelvis and vocal folds in a certain configuration.
Consciously relaxing my jaw and my pelvic floor at the same time. (Bodymind psychotherapist Susan Aposhyan says there is a vital connection between pelvic floor and mouth—they are the two ends of the alimentary canal. Explore moving your lips and/or jaw gently open and closed and see if you can feel your pelvic floor, including your genitals and anus, respond.)
Squatting, lying, resting on the earth, surrendering my body to her holding.
Creating soulcollage cards with images to accompany and guide my bodysoul transforming (like those in this post).
Receiving massage, bodywork, and coaching.
And in all my practice, letting it be simple, a return, a non-efforting, a non-striving, a letting be and letting go.
This is the yin ground
I am learning to cultivate.
I’m struck with how both the voice work and my holistic pelvic care refer to presence. Cultivating yin ground enhances my vocal presence and my pelvic presence, both of which make me more complete and whole, more present as a human being.
9 thoughts on “Grounding–yin or yang?”
This article so resonates with me. As I have moved to the end of menopause there is this deep yearning for more yin in my life. All the books say I am supposed to be active now. Well my body says no. I have been grounding for others for a long time and now what is needed is rest, softness, receiving yin energies. It is affirming to hear I am not alone in this. I love the idea of yin and yang forms of grounding. Thanks
I think it’s part of the menopausal phase, Kimberly. We have done, we have shown up…now it’s time to sink into that deep well within and to source our power and our action from there more and more. I’m so glad my own experiential understandings resonate for you! ❤
Katy, this is so interesting. I concur, yet my story shows the reverse pattern of yours. I’ve always acted primarily through my dominant Yin energy. That worked fine throughout my schooling, but fell very short when I set out to develop my career. For that, it was crucial to risk drawing out — and tapping into — my neglected yang energies. “Needs must!” It took two painful years of struggle, but proved wondrously worth it to discover my latent yang strengths. I did learn to soar with them through over three fulfilling decades. Could say I learned to fly much farther on two wings rather than wobbling about on just the one.
Nowadays, since I’ve been happily retired for 15 years, poor old yang is called on far less, and usually in service to others. The result is a cosy imbalance that suits me in this eighth decade of ‘evolving’ me. Really, looking back, I can see that the yang years took a lot out of me, and that a deeper kind of balance is now being restored as I focus on myself in brand new ways. The best thing is that my Yang force, though quieter, is fully alive and readily available from within me anytime. I could create fresh opportunities to use its skills, yet prefer to respond to any that happen my way. Yang gladly serves when called on, with the same old enjoyment and vibrancy as in my heyday. The ‘Holy Both’ of corresponding opposite forces is a treasure!
Thanks for this blog and for the chance to trace for myself what you’ve detected in yourself.
I am so glad you bring the other side of the equation to the fore, Kit! I know many women suffer from immobility from over-yin instead of over-yang and need to cultivate the healthy yang aspect. I love hearing about this in your words and life! And I am inspired that I, too, can land in the Holy Both! I know it is possible and have tastes, but I still default to the yang expression…
I love this idea of these complementary ways to approach grounding. I think you’ve really hit on something. Having not felt so grounded at times, I’m curious to explore whether what I do experience is more yin or yang…but then I get mixed up with those terms! I might need to think of it more as feminine or masculine approaches to grounding.
I’d love to hear what you find out, Cheryl! Feminine and Masculine works, too, as long as we’re using the same ideas of what Feminine is! 🙂
What a beautiful reflection, Katy! The distinction between yin and yang grounding is an intriguing one. I’m honored to be a part of this journey with you.
Thanks for this beautiful reflection, Katy! The distinction between yin and yang grounding is a new thought for me — one I’m excited to explore. Honored to be on this journey with you!
And i am so grateful to have you as one of my teachers! Bowing…