How Yoga can help you harmonize & balance the elements:
To use yoga to balance and harmonize the elements, start by focusing on one element at a time. I recommend you start your journey with the Earth element, as it is the foundation for all the rest.
When incorporating the five elements in your yoga practice, try not to focus too much on their materiality. Instead, think about their energy and vibration, or how the essence of these elements affects your body, mind and emotions as you move and breathe on your yoga mat.
Try to feel the sensation of the element as much as possible throughout your practice. Once you have mastered connecting with the first element, you can proceed to the next one. Eventually, you can work on experiencing the qualities of each in every asana you practice.
Our human form is a construct of the element Earth – skin, bones, muscles, cells, tissues etc, we arose from one source and we return to this source. Often we are wanderers of the earth searching for safety, stability and love but also walk in fear, loneliness and confusion – when our earth element is out of balance we have this strong sense of insecurity, possessiveness, have a lack of appetite and roam with fear but you can harmonize and re-connect to Earth to balance this element through yoga by:
- Practicing balancing yoga poses like Tree Pose, Warrior poses and Earth salutations
- Roll a ball under your feet, practice toe squats and enjoy foot massages in savasana
- Walking Mediation is a great way to connect to “coming home” to Earth
As you move through these notice your connection with the earth, and how the ground supports you as you activate your feet and leg muscles. Focus on feeling your feet pressing into the earth, providing a stable, safe and centred foundation.
As water dances through our limbs, as it flows, moves and morphs, it reminds us that “flow” is our natural state. Moving the body in rhythm or going with the flow are ways we let go and honour our water element within. We always have choices, either we can swim against the tide or cling to the banks or we float with synchronicity with our life. The water element is soothing and sensual, and helps connect us to our feelings and emotions. It manifests in the body as blood, lymph, tears, saliva, sweat, urine, semen, and breast milk. When our water element out is out of balance we may experience issues with addiction, emotional expression, creativity, and mental rigidity. Problems with digestion, elimination occur often too. Bring yourself back into the ebb & flow of your water element through yoga by:
- Practice yoga with a sense of playfulness, fluidity and ease of motion
- Move through flows of poses, Cat/cow, Mandala or a ladder style flow, Bridge rolls, Tiger curls and knee taps, and flowing in and out of pigeon pose or malasana
- Ujjayi Breathing (the sound of the ocean)
- Meditate visualising bubbles as a representation of letting go what no longer serves you and feeling yourself float in the wave of water effortlessly
While we have an inherent fear of fire, working with this element in our yoga practice can promote powerful states of transformation. The Fire element is hot, bright, active, dynamic, strengthening, and stimulating. This element governs passion, anger, ambition, desire, willpower, courage, confidence, self-expression, creative thinking, and leadership. It regulates our metabolism, energy, and body temperature. When the fire element is out of balance we experience lack of motivation, inflammation in the body, decision making is irregular, digestive system is out of sorts and we lack creativity or creative thinking. You can harmonize your fire element through yoga by:
- Practice poses that increase circulation, build heat and activate the core – yoga poses like plank, chair pose, eagle pose, bow pose and warrior 3 or a Fire Salutation
- Use your Kali Mudra during yoga class to bring forward the fire energy and transformation
- Warming breathing like Kapalabathi can ignite the fire within
- If the fire within is burning wild use Shitali breathing to bring a little calm to the flames
- Write down your negative thoughts as they arise and burn them with fire to cleanse the mind
The Hatha yoga tradition describes five Vayus subtle energetic winds or airs in the human body that represent different types of prana energy. The Air element is gentle, uplifting, nurturing, healing, freeing and balancing. This aspect of nature governs all types of movement in the body, kinetic movements, breathing, thinking, and circulation. When the Air element is out of balance, people become impatient, argumentative, fearful, anxious, compulsive, indecisive and flighty. Balance your Air element through yoga by:
- Practicing repetitiveness in your yoga flows, slow rhythmic movements and Inversions are ideal
- Yoga poses opening the heart camel, bow, wheel pose and yoga poses that inspire slow movement like triangle, side angle pose and inversions like headstand or tripod headstand
- Be mindful about your breathing taking deep breaths in and out and also holding breaths to retain air in the body for longer periods
- Sound healing, or wind chimes around you while you practice
The Ether or space element is neither visible nor audible, yet it permeates and connects everything together. It is the most subtle of the elements. The Ether element is expansive, calming, soothing, receptive, intuitive, spiritual, universal, timeless, infinite, and boundless. It represents pure consciousness, intuition, creativity, imagination, inspiration, faith, love, compassion, empathy, peace, joy, bliss, truth, purity, wisdom, and transcendence. This element governs communication, speech, hearing, intuition, dreams, clairvoyance, and spiritual awareness. Bringing balance and harmony to the element Ether through yoga by:
- Creating space in your flows, less not more, use yoga props to create space, long holds of poses and forward folds nourish this element
- Slow calming breaths like the S breath or Straw breath to soothe the nervous system
- Yoga poses to practice, bridge pose, supported fish pose, any and all forward folds and also supported inversions
- Invite expansiveness into your body, mind and soul by practicing longer savasana and longer holds in your slow movement flow, or being present and mindful in a longer meditation
When we nurture and appreciate the natural connections, we can experience a sense of abundant well-being as well as belonging to all life that surrounds us and resides within us.