Root to Rise

April 05, 2021

If you’ve participated in a yoga class—in-person or even online—a teacher’s phrase “root to rise” echoes. While battling breath work, proper alignment, individual aches, and essential position, such a popular cue may have gone in one ear and out the other. Sometimes there’s just so much to remember!  

“Root to rise,” though, is a game-changer in your body-mind yoga practice. Think of “root to rise” as a verbal cue to unify with the ground, with your skin pressing against the bones, with your ability to expand and stay firm, with blending oppositional balances.

For years I was a shaky mess from Warrior Prep to Warrior I. But it looked so easy? How? Why was I such a “mess”? I cringed and hoped nobody else noticed my bouncy slackline-ish waver from floor to stable lift. Part of me wanted to float from prep to asana with a glide, like a vulture in a thermal. I couldn’t glide, however, until I firmed up the touchpoints on the mat (like a sprinter in the starter blocks) and learned to press my inner thighs to the midline as I emerged into a standing asana.

The oppositional action available in “root to rise” can work in numerous refinements to help you find stability. Here are some examples of when and how to use the cue:

Body PartWhat it might feel likeAsana


Focus on pressing down through the heels and balls of your feet, so you feel the edges of the mat

Any standing asana


Focus on pressing down on the femurs and into your hamstrings

Extended triangle pose


Focus on shoulder blades caressing the back ribs, shining energy out of the arms and fingers

Upward hands pose, high crescent lunge pose variation with cactus arms


Press through the fingers, widen them, root down through the knuckles to spread the weight out across the hand

Down dog


Root down the energy through the hands and wrists to take the pressure off your neck

Inversions like headstand and forearm stand; dolphin pose

Tricia Louvar l Mukha YogaBy Tricia Louvar; All Rights Reserved @2021

Tricia Louvar l Mukha Yoga
By Tricia Louvar; All Rights Reserved @2021

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