Does it sound a bit weird to you when yoga teachers start talking about “grounding” poses and connection to the elements? I get it. When I first started going to yoga, teachers would go on about the earth elements and I would be going “Huh?”. I used to think yoga teachers were weird….and then I became a yoga teacher! Lol. I thought yoga was movement only and didn’t get this other “stuff”….I didn’t quite get but I still loved/love it and am still in awe of the connection to the body and mind and to the environment around us! Below is how I have come to understand and experience it…
Key elements of nature include earth, water, fire, air and space. When the elements of nature are in balance, the environment is able to operate/function with ease. There will be times when the earth will be overwhelmed, however earth will be able to bring herself back into balance. When nature is out of balance, for example over-mining, abusing the environment, depleting minerals, over-development, we put pressure on the earth, when there is a disregard for earth we can and have brought the elements out of balance. That is what we are seeing with climate change and random weather patterns and animals and plants becoming extinct. We have known this for decades and yet we are continuing to be abusive to the environment and the natural elements.
Relating this back to you and your body, when you harm your body or mind, you can throw your natural system and body clock out of whack. Humans are largely made up of water. Sometimes or should I say, often, humans do not nurture their bodies with food choices, environmental conditions and surroundings and can push the body and mind too far. This is when dis-ease can enter the body and mind. When the elements in the body are working together in harmony; you are well and happy. By practicing yoga, and poses that connect in with the elements, you can help to bring your body back into balance. The operative word here is “practicing”. Yoga is a practice. On the mat. Plus, in the world and caring for nature and our surroundings. When we hurt our own body, we hurt the world and the environment. And vice-versa. When we disrespect the environment, we hurt ourselves and humanity.
How can you serve the world to bring what’s out of balance into balance? This is something only you can answer. You can create change by how you vote, throwing your support behind causes you believe in, choosing how you spend your time and how you spend your money, you can be a conscious consumer and the degree of how you create change in your own life is your choice. Each person will be called to different ways to serve, if at all. It is part of yoga practice to look beyond our mat to see how to serve with love and intention and support. Whether your action is big or small, this is about planting seeds (literally because we need more trees in the world! Or serving in another way that suits you) and taking steps to bring into balance the environmental elements.
How can you practice yoga to bring into balance how you are feeling emotionally or mentally? I always remind myself and others that in order to serve the world, your personal cup does need to have capacity to give. Otherwise you are giving from a depleted energy source. Yoga poses can help to bring you into balance emotionally or mentally or physically and free up energy centres in your body. …Here are key poses that can help based on if you feel like you need more grounding in your life, or more water to flow through life a bit more or perhaps heat to have fire in your belly to work towards your intentions.
Yoga poses for the elements:
Earth: grounding and earthing yoga poses can help you to connect with your body and mind. Sometimes the mind and body can be disconnected like you are mentally there when you are physically here. I.d. Mind is wandering. Here are 8 yoga poses to help connect back to you.
Water: These poses from Chopra help to bring more fluidity and movement into the body and also mind. If you find yourself stuck in the body or mentally, these poses can support the element of water in the body. Water has a feminine and cleansing quality to it if you think of the water and the sea for example. The sea can be soothing and calming, yet there is still much strength to it when you see tidal waves, high tide, low tide, currents and rips. Water is powerful and cleansing.
Fire: Yoga poses that connect in with your inner fire relate to determination and resolve. If you feel like you need a bit more motivation yoga poses that cultivate your inner fire can give you that extra push to move with determination to your intentions on and off the mat. Check out these heat building yoga poses.
Air: If you would like to bring a little bit more flow into your life, connecting with your air element can be quite supportive. Have a read through this article about bringing this quality into your life with yoga poses. Also handy if you have trouble with digestion, yoga poses can help you nourish your digestive system.
Space: Lastly, if you feel like you are stuck or there is a lot of clutter whether physically or emotionally or mentally, these poses can bring you back into your body and ground you.
….and boom! That’s it! This article is an introduction into earth elements and our connection with the environment, and with yoga poses and how yoga poses can support natural elements. I realise I have a lot of information in this article, some ideas may seem a bit random, however there is a method to my madness! Please check out the links to the article to read more about yoga poses that can support you and as always, pop me any questions.