Yoga works at many levels and from many perspectives. The Elements have become my recent favorite. The 5 Elements in Yoga are Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. As a teacher, I like the Elements because they allow me to cover a variety of layers within a yoga practice so that the student can experience a range of practices, such as asana, meditation, pranayama, and energy work. From there, they can decide what lands for them and continues them on a path of transformation, healing, and clarity. I am excited to offer a chain of blogs that cover the Elements. Here, I cover the element of Air.
The element of air takes us to higher levels of self awareness. Air is an interesting thing…we never see it but we always accept its existence. Like water, air keeps us alive. When we feel stressed we long for some fresh air and often dream of flying. Air gives us space, openness, freedom, and liberation. In yoga, it is the element that surrounds our balance, concentration, and of course, our breath. The Air Element connects us to the higher planes of our intuition and wisdom, the things we connects see but we accept are there. The chakras connected to Air are the heart (love and compassion), throat (communication), and third eye (intuition).
The element of air is represented in yoga through balance and breath. Air can also be incorporated by noticing the space you are taking up in every pose and where your body lands in space. Below are some poses that use Air:
Half Moon, Dancer
The Air Element can also be tapped into through meditation and pranayama practices. Here is a short version you can do at home:
—>From Sukasana/Hero Pose, close the eyes or gaze down the nose –> come to notice the breath–>begin to bring awareness to the space in front of you–>the back of you–>right side–>left–>notice the space in the room you are in–>how big is the room?–>become aware of the other people in the room–>send them an offering of love and kindness.–>bring attention back to you and bring awareness to the heart space–>give yourself an offering of love and kindness.
—> As you continue to breathe into the heart space, imagine sending breath, life force energy to every cell of your body—>As you breathe out, send compassion again to the room and beyond it, out into the street and further beyond to the entire world and every living creature.—>Know that air carries energy and is not held down by distance or time. It lives within us and is us.
Breath of Joy (10 rounds)
Nadi Shodana (20 rounds)
This practice can also be done saying the affirmation: “I am loving kindness.”
Try using crystals such as moonstone, aquamarine, amethyst, and azurite.
When thinking about the Earth element, journal on the thought, “If I had wings and could fly…”
“Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom.”
-Gitanjali 35” by Rabindranath Tagore