Words by Blanka Priddle
You may have seen her wandering through London’s parks, looking all office ready, but her sandals dangling from her hands as she threads her feet through juicy grass, smiling secretly to herself. Is she remembering summers long gone when she was a little girl playing in the garden, or is she a business woman on her lunch break, taking a moment to connect to the ground? And if the latter – why on Earth would she do such a thing? Blanka is here this month to persuade us to do just that, not because it is fun, though it is, but to help us become more at ease and balanced by getting reconnected to our planet’s surface, the ground.
Have you watched Dr Brian Cox’s latest TV series - ‘The Planets’? I have really enjoyed it - the graphics are beautiful, his enthusiasm unparalleled and, even though I am not sure how we can ‘know’ all this, it is pretty fascinating to learn more about our solar system, as, after all, it is where we live. In one part of the show, Dr. Cox talks about what Earth looked like when she was first created some 4 billion years ago – an inhospitable rocky place with clouds of noxious fumes rolling over super acidic oceans.
I have always looked at our planet as a place that created life. Apparently however, it was life that created Earth as she is today. As the very first, simplest algae started releasing oxygen into the atmosphere, the whole place slowly but surely became the blue and green planet we know today. Full of lush mountains and sparkling oceans with white sheep-like clouds floating across the skies, and happy birdsong raining down on us.
We humans have evolved to become who we are as part of the Earth’s ecosystem, part of the planet’s biosphere, for millennia. We were living in woods, prairies and forests, taking from nature what we needed to survive, intimately connected to the planets heartbeat. These days, however, most of us are living lives that are lived more in what can be called technosphere, isolated and disconnected from the place that gave birth to us. Perhaps you have experienced and are aware of how rejuvenating it can be to spend time in nature, to walk in an old forest under the canopy of mature trees, breathing in the resin scented air. You realised how strengthening reconnecting to nature can be not only to our spirit, but also our physical bodies.
I feel that we have become somewhat arrogant lately, surrounded by, and deeply dependent on technology. We’ve started to believe we do not need the Earth, we can just use and abuse her, take not just what we need but what we want simply because we know how, without so much as a glance at how this affects not only the planet herself, but also us, the human race.
However, we have evolved as part of the planet. From humanity’s babyhood we walked on the Earth, we slept on the ground, we lived following the season and nature’s rules. Yes, we did that because we didn’t have a choice, and I am not going to suggest that we need to go back to living in caves in order to be well – I am rather happy sleeping in my comfy bed and I give silent thanks every time I stand underneath a shower. But I do wonder about the people of ancient times’ deeper connection to the planet, about things they understood that we don’t, and about how they likely felt more keenly when they separated themselves from the energies of the earth and how that affected their own energy.
I want to talk about something called ‘grounding’, or ‘earthing’. It has been established that the Earth’s surface has a negative charge: billions of free electrons are bobbing around on the ground, almost as if waiting to get reconnected with a human foot. This is great news, because, as humans, we naturally tend to accumulate positive charge, and so when we touch the earth with a bare foot, an exchange of sorts takes place.
Experiments of this nature have been conducted and have shown that many measurable effect take place in the human body as we connect directly to the Earth including improved mood, reduction of inflammation and better sleep. This becomes even more important when you realise that all electrical tools and toys and every day 21st century necessities , often even electrical sockets in the walls, create a positive charge, and so as we live our modern lifestyle surrounded by these things, the electro-magnetic imbalance is much greater then it would have been in the past.
There is a suggestion that being disconnected from the Earth long term, as we are in our modern world, can affect our health. David Wolfe in his book Longevity Now talks about the effect of grounding on lowering the level of inflammation in the body, and on general physical health overall. He writes about astronauts returning back to Earth with weakened bodies and demineralised bones, which generally we put down to a lack of gravity; now the idea of being grounded and having our bodies flooded by free negatively charged electrons and their influence on our body’s wellbeing is introducing a different perspective.
As we stay disconnected from the Earth for long periods of time, the charge that accumulates in our body might show up as unsettling anxiety we cannot quite explain, nervousness or bad mood that has no reason, or being tired to the bone even if we rest enough. This is often resolved when our body directly touches the Earth’s surface for a little bit of time and is flooded by the negatively charged particles.
A few months ago I wrote about the importance of natural day light and protecting our eyes from blue light late at night, to help balance our circadian rhythm. I have recently learned that by connecting to the energetic rhythm of the planet, our own biological clock and the circadian rhythm of our body get reset, which will help our body balance our hormones and so bring greater sense of balance and wellbeing.
So how can you get grounded?
As we are in the warmest time of the year, the fastest and possibly most fun way is wild swimming, as all natural bodies of water - lakes, the ocean, river or even a bubbling mountain brook - are automatically grounding. If submerging yourself in a lake seems a bit too extreme, how about a paddle ankle deep or dipping your hands in the refreshing water? Walking barefoot on a beach, walking on grass or even gardening are easy ways to get connected to Earth’s electro-magnetic field and discharge any accumulated energy that might be plucking on your nerves.
David Wolfe recommends that we spend at least 20 minutes a day, preferably longer, getting grounded, but I think it is always better to do a little bit and get the benefits rather than thinking you don’t have 20 minutes and not doing it at all. So if your way home from the tube leads through the park, take of your shoes and walk barefoot through the grass – this is what I do every time it feels warm enough to take my shoes off. Even if it wasn’t for the benefit of getting grounded, the sense of being young and free again would be benefit enough.
Worried that people will look? Just smile, and have fun. You are the wiser one!
A little footnote for those of you who really cannot make it outside and get in touch with nature: you may want to explore earthing technologies and get grounded that way until such time when you can put your bare feet on the grass. You can try https://www.groundology.co.uk/ to start your research.
Join Blanka at her Urban Summer Retreat
Saturday, August 3, 10 AM – 5 PM
Balance Garden Readers get 15% with the code BALANCEGARDEN
Booking and more info below and HERE
Harness the radiant Summer energy to nourish your body, mind & soul - the ultimate self-care day with yoga, yummy food and essential oils
The day includes:
Two well-balanced dynamic yoga sessions in the morning
Followed by a Yin and Restorative yoga session in the afternoon
A short Kundalini yoga practice
Pranayama, Meditation and Yoga Nidra to help you integrate other practices
Working with delicious pure essential oils to support your energy and emotions, and help you let go of anything that no longer serves you
A day where everything will be taken care of for you so you can let go and immerse yourself in taking care of your body, mind and spirit
A delicious, vegan lunch & treats - menu teasers coming soon!
A goodie bag full of treats!
£75 if booked by 21 June, £89 after that. Use the code BALANCEGARDEN to get 15% at checkout https://bookwhen.com/gracefully-yoga
Blanka has been passionately learning about all things natural and alternative since her teens and has been on this exploring journey for almost three decades now. She discoved essential oils back in the 90s, fell in love with raw living foods in the noughties, and played with many other things in between. She is a Kundalini as well as Hatha yoga teacher, enjoys cooking, makes her own beauty products, and is always on a quest to find the best coffee in town.
Originally from the Czech Republic, she now lives with her Husband and a cat called Chloupek in SE London, where she teaches from her cosy yoga studio.
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