Essay: A Seated Practice

What are the juicy carrots that can be dangled to potential participants with regard to finding a quality of ease in sitting that is both enjoyable and deepening of the experience?

I have for a few years now loved all of the benefits of Earthing/grounding and in general reconnecting my self lovingly with mother earth. Our connection to nature, the planet and the universe is vital, however, with rapid advances in technology and our modern fast-paced lifestyles, many of us have become separated from our basic bond with mother Earth. Therefore I believe that one of the juicy carrots that can be dangled to potential participants could be teaching them about earthling.

We are all one ; humans and nature 

In short, earthing or grounding is putting the body in direct and uninterrupted contact with the earth. This means that skin needs to touch soil, sand, water, or a conductive surface that is in contact with the earth. From a scientific perspective, the idea is that the earth has a mild negative charge to it. Over time, especially in modern life, our bodies build up a positive charge. Direct contact with the earth can even out this positive charge and return the body to a neutral state. Many people don’t have this contact with the earth anymore, and some experts wonder if this is a contributor to the (many) rising health problems we face today. As a population, we wear rubber shoes and live indoors. In theory, many of us could go years without directly touching the earth at all, even if we’re outside. Over time, the theory is that this positive charge builds and can lead to health problems.

Benefits of Earthing & Grounding according to emerging research, earthing may be beneficial in:

-Reducing inflammation
-Reducing chronic pain
-Improving Sleep (I can vouch strongly for this!)
-Increasing Energy (I noticed this also) 
-Lowering stress and promoting calmness by reducing stress hormones.
-Normalizing biological rhythms including circadian rhythm
-Normalising blood pressure and blood flow
-Relieving muscle tension and headache (I noticed this)
-Improving menstrual and female hormone symptoms
-Speeds healing- used in some places to prevent bed sores
-Reducing jet lag
-Protecting the body from effects of EMFs
-Shortening recovery time from injury or athletic activity
-Reducing snoring
-Helping support adrenal health
Dr. Briffa gives a more scientific description on his site.

“During the normal processes of metabolism the body generates what are called ‘reactive oxygen species’ which are commonly referred to as ‘free radicals’. These compounds appear to be important, at least in part because they have the ability to attack and destroy unwanted things within the body including bacteria and viruses. However, too many free radicals are a bad thing, and have been implicated in chronic disease and well as the very process of ageing.
Free radicals are involved in the process known as inflammation, which is part of the healing process. However, low-grade inflammation throughout the body may lead to pain and other problems in the muscles and joints, and is also believed to be a key driving factor in many chronic diseases including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In short, we want free radicals, but not too many.
Free radicals lack sparks of energy known as ‘electrons’. One way to quell them is to give them electrons, and these can be supplied by nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E, and plant substances known as ‘polyphenols’ (found in, among other things, tea, coffee, cocoa and apples). However, substances we eat and drink are not the only way to get electrons into the body: earthing does this too. If the body has a positive charge on it, earthing allows electrons to flow into the body where, in theory, they can neutralise overblown free radical and inflammatory damage.
Carrying a positive charge may well affect the body in lots of different ways, which means that earthing may offer a range of wellbeing benefits.”   

I personally try to ground/earth my self a couple of times during the week. It gives me a lot of energy as well as healing my body together a sense of relaxed state of being.
Yesterday I went on a 2 hours barefoot walk in the rain at Kastellet in Copenhagen, which is the most beautiful military fort. There is both grass and pathways covered with pebbles providing me with a foot massage free of charge from mother earth.
Therefore it would be amazing if most of the seated poses could be outside. Who is not up for rolling around on the ground when you are informed about all of the benefits you gain from it?
Furthermore the people who are experiencing pain or discomfort will most likely feel a relief from the benefits of earthing.

I also love to play with the visualization that I have roots coming out from whatever part of my body, touching the ground throughout my yoga practice. Imagining how I’m just melting into the earth and becoming one with all the sacred wisdom from the mother earth, providing me with exactly what I need in my life. Maybe that could also be an area to explore…
Keeping the participants aware of their contact to the ground during their practice.

What other aspects of a yoga practice does comfort and ease in sitting facilitate?

Inspired by the rolly-polly by Helen I just love rolling around on the floor giving my self a full body massage. I find it extremely enjoyable not to strive for any particular pose, however just allowing my body to guide me around on the floor. I often use different props as a bolster, blanket, blocks, belt or tennis/massage balls to comfort me around and/or deepening, lengthening the body. I find it so relieving for any muscle ace or just for waking up different body parts.

Furthermore I find it a lot easier for the body to release when sitting or laying on the ground. When I can surrender to gravity and relax into whatever position I’m in I find it a lot easier to let go and let me body absorb the benefit of an asana/posture, then if I’m standing and have to hold balance etc.
Its like you are using the ground as you prop, always connected to it, some way or another and when you then have the knowledge about earthing/ground I would say the one would be eager to explore the many benefits of being in contact with the ground as much as possible.

How can this be efficiently explained and presented to an audience which may struggle with the idea that a seated sequence can actually be enjoyable and rewarding?

In term of informing the audience about grounding, I find the documentary Grounded very informative and often recommend people watching it for information about the topic:

Together with all the information above stated. Making people understand that the way the body react in terms of movement

What would make you want to attend a yoga intensive in a beautiful conducive location if it was focused around an area in your practice which you would rather avoid?

I keep reading this question over and over again…. Hmm, 😀
So far I cannot see any reason for not wanting to attend this intensive yoga retreat.

Then one could also turn it around and say that:
Often what is avoided is what one needs the most…

I also totally believe that if you change your mind set, Everything can be sexy and very appealing. But then again…. Why are you attending an intensive yoga retreat? = personal enquiry.

How can all this be marketed effectively?

I’m all about nerdy information about how I can optimise my body and mind.
Therefor I think that a good way to awake people’s attention is too make some mini videos as you have already been working with in the emails, showing some basic grounding tips/benefits, so that people can experience some of the healing powers of connection with the earth, without of course revealing the entire content of the retreat.
Also small informative photos for Instagram with text, is also very effective.
Small videos can also be added to Instagram, with the same effect.
I would love to work more deeply on the marketing part, which is something that I actually love to work on a nerdy level on.

Chaca Jacobsen, 2017