7 Sacred Teachings Grounding Exercises

Grounding exercises are used to help an individual to:

  • Connect to the present moment
  • Connect to a safe environment
  • Shift their focus of attention to positive thoughts and feelings
  • Establish personal choice and safety
  • Identify and eliminate any negative thoughts or feelings
  • Remain connected and grounded

Buffalo ~ Respect

Buffalo Breathing Exercise

Breathing is a subtle sensation in the face of powerful emotion. It can become an ever-present friend and a calming focal point with practice. When you focus on your breaths, breathing tends to slow down, which slows down the heart rate.

  1. Imagine you are a buffalo walking on a cold winter day; the loud and forceful exhale of your breath turns into a white cloud.
  2. Inhale gently through your nose, counting 1, 2, 3, and feel your chest and stomach expand.
  3. Next, purse your lips as you breathe out through your mouth, notice as your stomach is slowly emptying. (Pursed lips= making your mouth into a tiny “o” shape, like when you whistle.)
  4. Repeat three times.

Bear ~ Courage

Bear Hug

In the seven teachings, the bear represents courage. If you think of the bear, it is large, strong, and protective.

Think of the feeling you get when someone you love gives you a big hug when you are upset. And when we wrap crying babies in blankets, moss bags, or cradleboards, they become calm and stop crying.

The pressure from the hugs brings us comfort because it reminds us of when we were in our mother’s wombs. We were warm, snug, and secure.

Bear hugs can help you feel less anxious because the pressure sends signals to overstimulated parts of the brain which encourage the body to feel calm.

Steps for giving yourself a Bear Hug

  1. Make yourself comfortable and give yourself enough room to move your arms without hitting anyone or anything.
  2. You can choose to sit or stand during this grounding technique
  3. Imagine you are a big bear, and you are about to give yourself a big bear hug
  4. Stretch your arms out and then try to touch the sky.
  5. Wrap your arms and place your hands on each shoulder. Your right hand goes on your left shoulder, and your left hand goes on your right shoulder.
  6. Now squeeze tightly and say to yourself, “I am in control, I am safe, I am loved.”
  7. Rub your arms and feel the warmth.
  8. Sweep your hands down and your arms and shake your hands.
  9. Shake any unwanted feelings or thoughts away.
  10. Repeat two more times.

Remember, you are courageous no matter what!

Wolf ~ Humility

Sharing Circle

Humility is knowing that you are a sacred part of creation; No one is better than anyone else because we are all equal.

In the natural world, the wolf expresses humility very clearly. The wolf lives within a pack of other wolves, and the pack operates as a team. Each has a role to play. Several animals may be the hunters, some may be the protectors, some may be the nurturers and others may be the pups that follow, learn, and grow.

Each wolf is equally important as each animal must perform its role for the survival and betterment of the pack.

Sharing Circle Activity:

This can be done as a small group, a large group or as a family

All circles incorporate spiritual expressions in a culturally safe way. The sharing circle can be used as a safe space to listen and to share. For those who wish to do so, a circle may begin with a smudge with sage or sweet grass. Ideally, all circles can open and close with a prayer.

There are a few simple guidelines that ensure a circle is safe:

  1. Only one person speaks at a time – only the person holding the feather or talking stick may speak. Dialogues are not part of the circle, as they can become confrontational.
  2. Introduce yourself – it is polite to introduce yourself in the first round. You may use your spirit name (of you have one) or your given name.
  3. Speak from the heart – the speaker should address the circle from the heart and may speak for as long as they need to, with respect for the time of others.
  4. Listen with respect – all people except the speaker listen attentively and give support to the speaker. Listening with the heart allows you to hear the true intent behind what the speaker is saying. Listen in the way you expect others to hear you.
  5. What is said in the circle stays in the circle – never repeat anything that is said within the circle, unless you have permission from the speaker.

Beaver ~ Wisdom

Clapping Exercise

Changing what you do affects how you feel and think.

One of the gifts that was given to the beaver is its strong tail. The slap of a beaver tail is very loud. It sounds like someone doing a “cannonball” into the water and is easily mistaken for a large rock or tree falling into the water.

Beavers slap their tails to warn other beavers of danger, to frighten enemies and to make an enemy reveal its location by startling it.

Clap Your Hands Together Activity

  1. Clap strongly and feel the slight sting as your hands meet.
  2. Now clap softly and feel for the movement of air between your hands.
  3. Put your full attention on this one simple act and see how many things you can notice about what your hands feel.
  4. Now rub your hands together vigorously until they generate some heat.
  5. Feel the heat in your palms and then bring your hands to rest over your eyes and take a few slow deep breaths.

Sabe ~ Honesty

Feet to the Floor Exercise

Never try to be someone else, be honest with yourself and accept who you are! This is the way the Creator made you.

Feet to the Floor Activity

  1. Stand and feel your feet.
  2. Bring awareness to your feet, noticing your connection to the floor/ground. Imagine your feet as if deep tap roots into the earth, embedded in solid, strong, stable earth that nourishes and supports you.
  3. Notice how your weight is distributed between your feet; perhaps one foot feels like it has more pressure or feels different than the other; maybe you are leaning more into your toes or your heels.
  4. Continue to feel into your feet, breathing out through your feet into the earth, breathing in from the earth to your feet.
  5. Now stamp your feet and feel how solid, strong, and unbreakable the ground is beneath you, no matter how hard you stamp.
  6. Stretch and flex your toes and take a few slow deep breaths.

Turtle ~ Truth

Be True to Yourself

Be true to yourself and your feelings. Live true to your spirit. To know truth is to know and understand all the original laws as given by the Creator. It is said that in the beginning, when the Creator made people and gave them the seven sacred laws, the Grandmother Turtle was present to ensure that the laws would never be lost or forgotten.

Safe and Calm Place Grounding Activity

  1. Recall a time or place where you can remember feeling calm and safe. (Maybe by a body of water, beside a favorite tree, in a favourite chair by a window).
  2. As you remember this place and see it now in your mind’s eye. What are some colours, textures, shapes, and smells that you notice?
  3. What are you noticing now in your body? (in your hands and feet, your heart, your stomach).
  4. As you share this place with me, is there one word that describes how it anchors you in this experience?
  5. Try this at home, a few times a day when you’re already feeling calm, to strengthen this connection between the word and feeling.
  6. It can become your instant home, a safe and calm place that will help you, ‘change the channel’ from an upsetting thought or feeling.

Eagle ~ Love

Remember to Love Yourself

The eagle teaches us love and it is important that we love ourselves as well.

Try this activity of tapping while saying affirmations:

  1. Gently tap the sternum with an open hand while repeating the affirmation, allowing time to feel and digest every word.
  2. Affirmation examples:
    • Everything passes; this (strong emotion) too is changing.
    • Just this next step is important right now.
    • Even if my thoughts try to drag into the future or past, I am here, breathing, now.
    • Sensations are just sensations. Thoughts are just thoughts. I watch them come and go.
    • I can do this (something small, specific, concrete, positive, e.g., wash the dishes, sweep the floor, step outside).
    • This is enough. I AM ENOUGH.