Creating Transfomation In Your Life Using the Element of “Earth”
In Earth Energy Yoga, we learn to use the four elements of the planet Earth to create change. The four basic elements are air, fire, water, and earth. (The Ayurvedic tradition includes space/ether, but that is a discussion for another day.) Those of us who practice yoga do it because it benefits us on some level – whether it’s body, mind, or spirit. You may practice yoga because it makes you stronger physically, because you feel more calm and happy, or because you feel more connected to your higher self. The bottom line is that it makes us feel better. In Earth Energy Yoga, we learn how infusing our lives with each of the four elements makes us feel fabulous.
This week’s blog is about how the element of Earth can be utilized in your yoga practice to help you feel better. Often in our fast-paced, low-touch society we feel scattered and disconnected. The energy of Earth helps you feel grounded, centered, connected with your body, and fully present.
Energies of the Element “Earth”
- Feeling Centered
- Sacred Darkness, Mysteries of Night-time
- Wisdom Within
In various traditions, the element of Earth is associated with soil, rock, bones, the ground and all the layers beneath it, foundations in general, the direction North, the dark of night, and the season of Winter. The element of Earth is associated with our root chakra, also called the first chakra. So, when we have an imbalanced root chakra we feel unsupported, insecure, unbalanced, and ungrounded overall. Working with the element of Earth can help restore balance and help us create a solid foundation.
In yoga, we learn first-hand how structure allows for creativity. The structure of a pose with proper alignment and the bones stacking on top of each other in a particular manner allows for flexibility in a pose. For example, in Parsvottanasana (Pyramid or Head-to-Knee-Pose) it is the alignment of the feet, legs, and hips which create stability that allows us to fold over the front leg. If your structure is off, you won’t be able to go as deeply into the pose.
In the same way, in life, if your structures are off, you won’t be able to go as deeply in to life. It is the foundations and structures that you create which allow your creativity to flourish. Just like the way that the trunk and branches of a tree give structure for the beautiful leaves and blossoms to grow from. Our structures in our lives allow for our unique expressions.
Earth Energy Yoga teaches us to go within so we are more mindful of the structures in our lives. The external structures we create for ourselves like schedules, choices, behaviors, habits, all result from the level of thought. (Of course, there are many outside structures in our lives beyond our control, but we’re focused on those areas of our lives that we can control – thought, word, and deed). Remember from the previous blog (Thoughts Become Destiny) that we create our life in this order: thought – word – action – habit – character – destiny. So, basically, things start on the inside at the level of thoughts and feelings and become our actions and structures we set up in our lives. So, if we want to change outside circumstances, we have to start within at the level of thought and skillful action.
Earth Energy Yoga is the perfect opportunity to observe your thoughts. Using the element of earth we allow the mind to settle down and become more present. When you start a yoga class, your mind may be racing (rajasic) but the idea is to bring it to a place of serenity (sattvic) and one way we do this is engaging with the element of the Earth. To activate the energy of earth in asanas (yoga poses), we connect with our foundation and allow time in the pose to be grateful and aware of the support of the earth. Just like a tree has roots reaching out far and wide for nourishment. We have energetic roots we can call upon for a sense of soothing. By remembering that the ground of our being is supported by the earth we learn to relax a bit more.
The element of earth is also associated with sacred darkness. It is the energy of winter where things are still, peaceful, and quiet. Yet there is simultaneously the seeds of new beginnings. Just as in meditation we are accessing the incubating seeds of insight and inspiration. We all need this time to slow down, rest, and go within.
Earth Energy Yoga reflects the natural cycles of life. We honor the sacred darkness, the silence, and introspection because we know this aspect is just as important as action. In modern society there is an emphasis on all we can accomplish and “do, do, do” during the waking hours. But, you can’t have daylight all the time and you can’t have summer all the time. There is a reason for daily cycles of rest just as there is a reason for a balanced yoga practice of inward and outward practices. They allow for beauty and creativity to flourish! So, be your most generative self by taking the time to connect with the energy of the element of earth.
Here are some ways to engage with the transformative energetics of Earth Energy:
If there is something you wish to release from your body such as an outmoded idea, belief, or habit. . . Consciously release it by placing your palms on the ground and send the energy back to the Earth knowing that she will recycle it and turn it into something beautiful and new. See it traveling out through your hands. Once you are done and when you take your hands off the Earth you’ll notice a bit more spaciousness for something new in your life. Bring your hands together to your heart and, as always, end with love and gratitude for the Earth.
Give solidity to your intentions when practicing asana (yoga poses) by focusing on alignment and the structures you’re creating. Notice how the structures allow for freedom of expression. Notice that by pressing into the earth, pressing down, and connecting allows you to lift higher. Connect with earth energy by slowing down and keeping attention inward, subtle, and peaceful during your asana practice.
Meditate early in the morning while it is still dark out.
Step outside at night when it is dark out and notice the energy of this time of day. Turn within and feel your intuitive connection to the energy of earth.