Elements of Yoga: Balance Your Practice
The year rolls on and we move from the hazy late summer into the sharpening air of the autumn. This term we explore how to use the yogic elements to balance in harmony with the seasonal changes around us.
Find your stability and confidence by building firm rooted foundations and learning how to balance your own internal and external architecture through structured alignment and awareness. Learn how to trust that you'll supported so you can let go completely. Walking outside after the rain will get you in touch with the earth element.
Find space. Free and release the room you need to expand and breathe deeply so you can rest calmly in the centre. Learn how to undo habits and patterns of gripping, controlling and holding to allow your breathing to massage your organs, spine and lymph. Discover the element of air best by moving and breathing deep outside in the early morning.
Find flow with your own rhythm and go with the flow of things as they actually are, rather than how you would like them to be. Let go of things that are no longer supporting you and find the freedom to move. Water cleanses, refreshes and detoxes. Let the natural sound of water refresh you and watch the way it flows softly around and over obstacles to learn from the element of water.
Find strength. This is the element of transformation in the way the digestive system extracts nutrition and nourishment from food for the body to use and eliminates everything that is no longer helpful to the system. It's our strength and 'get-up-and-go' that can become flat and cool through autumn and winter. Nourish your internal fire with a brisk walk every day in daylight and with hearty, healthy food like root vegetable-packed soup or stew.
Akasha or the element of 'ether' is the most subtle of the elements and is felt as the space within and outside. It is the essence of emptiness and though limitless, it contains all the other elements. It's a place to rest and gather strength to be ready when it is time to renew. This element is associated with the resting phase of the winter, taking time to pause, reflect and plan. It's the space where change and transformation can grow. We'll move deeper into the element of space for the two lessons after the end of the main term to balance the manic busy-ness of Christmas and tune into the tone of the winter season. To experience the element of space, notice the (sometimes tiny) pause that naturally happens between two breaths. Find a sense of settling into that space.