From forest bathing to walking barefoot: How to ground your Qi

What is forest bathing?

Forest bathing is a term ” that emerged in Japan in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise called shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”). The purpose was twofold: to offer an eco-antidote to tech-boom burnout and to inspire residents to reconnect with and protect the country’s forests.” Not to mention taking a walk barefoot in the woods is the best way to accomplish the full grounding or forest bathing experience.

What is grounding?

Most of us are insulated front the actual frequency of the earth sometimes all day long. We work inside, we wear shoes with rubber and drive in cars with rubber tires. These all insulate our bodies from the conductive systems that transfer the earth’s electrons from the ground to the body. The result is that this can effect our sleep and increase overall body pain and inflammation. The simple and free fix is to walk or sit on the ground each day to discharge any positive ions to enable the body to come back to a more neutral or grounded state. Watch this video made by Dr. Aaron Barnard to understand the full concept of grounding:

Energy or Qi running meditation to improve negative ions

The premise of this practice is that there are two fundamental energies available to humans, the feminine, magnetic, “Earth” energy of the mother, and the masculine, electric, “Cosmic” energy of the Universe or Yin and Yang. According to Chinese medicine philosophy there is qi all around us. In this meditation we learn to connect with universal/cosmic qi and earthly qi, we are in essence the receptor between these two dynamic energy forces. The exercise begins in the imagination and makes use of the old axiom, “Energy follows thought.” It then moves into the realm of the Body with an awareness of feeling called the “felt sense.” 

According to Qi Gong practices, Running energy will help you become grounded in the Mother’s Earth energy, and more open to the universal cosmic energy. It also has the effect of opening the Body’s seven major energy centers or “chakras” and balancing your subtle and life-force energies, creating a clear space for healing and heightening awareness. The subtle energy centers used in the exercise are the same as the chakras from the Hindu system and also include running energy/Qi through organ systems and meridians of the Traditional Chinese medicine system. Overall, it is a really great practice to sit down and do everyday for at least 20 minutes, best to do it outside sitting on the earth or standing. It is like taking an internal shower and afterwards you will feel nourished, refreshed, connected and clear.

The first step is to bring your awareness into your body. Become aware of your breathing, and any physical sensations that are prominent, such as the feel of your body in the chair, etc. Wiggling your toes and focusing attention there is another good way to come more into the body. 

First, grounding

The exercise is done sitting upright in a chair with both feet flat on the ground. Note: this meditation involves visualization, so it may not be for everyone, but worth a try! Imagine a “grounding cord” like a root of a tree, extending down from the base of your spine, through the chair, through the floor(s) of the building, through the crust of Earth, all the way to the center of the Earth, attach this cord deep into the center of the Earth. This cord should be as wide as your hips or your chair. Notice the color of your cord today. Your cord can be anything that you connect with like, a waterfall, a hollow tube of light, a steel tube, etc… Additional grounding cords go down from the bottom of each foot, following the same path as the central grounding cord. Imagine feeling the grounding cords and allow their feeling to draw your attention deeper into your body. Let gravity run through your bones. If you begin to feel agitated sit with this feeling and eventually it will start to feel really good and relaxing.

Next, Earth energy

First connect with the Mother by calling her name and imagining her present in the floor of your pelvis. Ask her to hold you as you do the exercise. Then using imagination and breath, draw the magnetic, Mother, “Earth” energy from the center of the Earth up the grounding cords in your feet, through the meridians of the legs, to the base of your spine, like drawing liquid up a straw. Feel the energy as it enters into your root and pelvic bowl space.

Introducing cosmic energy

With Earth energy running, imagine cosmic energy above you as a stream of clear golden light, and bring it in through your crown. You may notice a difference in the feeling of this energy; it’s more electric, crisp, sharp and outgoing. Bring the cosmic energy down, feeling it drip into the crown of your head down the spine and back body meridians, allow it to fill up your kidneys, which are where we store our essential life force energy. Keep running this energy down to the base of your spine. Then allow the Earth energy and the Spirit/Cosmic energy to mix and allow it to flow up through your frontal energy channels/meridians. Some of it will flow down your arms and fountain out the center of the palms of your hands. The rest of the energy flows up into the heart, chest and neck and fountains out the top of the head. Then this energy flows down through your auric field. It picks up any stagnation or debris as it flows and the ‘stuff’ that you don’t need will travel back down your grounding cord into the center of the Earth to be recycled. 

Check in with your Chakra centers and body scanning

Then with both Mother and Spirit energy running, take a moment to check each chakra and notice the relative flow of energy. If there are any blockages, release them using intention and visualization to get the process started or just silently ask for anything you don’t need to be released down your grounding cord. Do this everyday anywhere from 5-60 minutes and several times per day if you can. You’ll end with all your centers open and vibrating and feeling balanced, and your Earth and Cosmic energy running in a smooth and even pattern. This is a very powerful meditation that gets your energy flowing; it opens all of your meridians and gets your chakras spinning. The more you practice this the better you will feel, you will have more energy and feel calm and centered and able to give without feeling depleted or like your energy is dissipated.

Bring in the golden sun

Always end this meditation by bringing in a golden sun. To do this, imagine a golden sun illuminated and hovering above your head. Silently call back all of your life force energy that you have given away throughout the day/week/month or year into this golden sun. With your third eye watch or imagine this sun getting bigger, brighter and more golden as it fills up with your unique energy. Then when it is full crack it like an egg and invite this warm golden energy to pour into the crown of your head and fill up your entire body, your cells, your bones, your organs, everything and let it flow all the way down to your feet. You can also send some down your grounding cord to encourage the release of anything else that may still feel stuck. Go ahead and call in some more golden suns if that one runs out, there is an abundance of energy that you can always call upon and use. Once you are done filling up fold over towards the floor and allow any excess golden sun energy to pour out the crown of your head.  Thank your body for all that it does for you. 

After practicing this meditation for awhile you will begin to think about it less and feel it more. In fact if this meditation feels like you are thinking too much simply set the intention to ground and run Earth and Cosmic energy and it will be done for you while you silently sit, breath and feel. 

Happy Grounding!