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© 2017 by Nancy Goodfellow Yoga. 

The Elements

July 15, 2015

 

1) Earth

 

Earth element (prthvi) is the principle (tattva) of density, solidity, connection and groundedness. Embodied from the soles of our feet to the base of the spine and floor of the pelvis, we learn to root ourselves to the center of the earth, walking steadily forward while leaving light footprints.

 

A red, square as the symbol of our foundation and the sacred seed syllable of ‘Lam’ embody the energy of the earth. Steadfastness, consistency, and stability  are qualities that as students we can cultivate in our practices on and off the mat.

 

With offerings of gratitude and love we expand our consciousness connection to Mother Earth and sense her continual support and nourishment received in daily abundance.

 

At the earth element we worship and adore the energy of Ganasha, the elephant –headed God that opens the door to the inner realms and allows us to overcome obstacles and challenges on our path and in our lives.

 

Om gam ganapatayei namah

 

2) Water

 

Water element (jala or ap)  is the principle of liquidity, acceptance, receptivity and transparency.  Embodied in our hips and pelvis as our inner waters, sexuality and organs of reproduction and elimination. Embracing water element we allow ourselves to flow more easefully with the situations in our lives. Connected strongly to our relationships we learn to move with grace and less resistance while becoming more transparent and authentic.

 

An upside down half -moon represents the water element and our emotional body, with the seed mantra as “vam”. Water carries and holds our energetic intentions as vibration and resonance.

 

We may visualize the great Lakshmi goddess of abundance, beauty and goodness. She sits in on the lotus flower and arises out of the great ocean of our Consciousness to remind us of our inherent beauty and divine nature.

 

Om shri maha lakshmayei namah

 

3) Fire

 

Fire element (agni) is at the heart of all Tantric yoga practices as the element of transformation and combustion and the great catalyst for change. Embodied in the solar plexus as our seat of self-power and center of our digestion. 

 

Fire represents our passions, our desires and our self-will. We cultivate fire energy in our practices through the breath and the bandhas, while we learn to assimilate and transform our experiences into embodied wisdom and higher states of consciousness.

 

A yellow upward-pointed triangle symbolizes fire and creates the sacred seed syllable “ram”.

We may invoke the great cosmic dancer, Shiva Nataraja, who conducts the Universal dance through the cycles of creation, sustenance, and destruction. He holds the sacred fire in his hand and beats on the drum of Time.

 

Om namah shivaya om

 

4) Air

 

Wind/air element (vayu) is the principle of mobility and movement that acts to fill and seeks to even itself out. Wind element controls all the functions of the body in its expression as Prana Vayu. Wind element is embodied in our chests, our lungs and our throats, and is primarily cultivated through the breath and pranayama practices. This element is about creativity, authentic expression and unique individual personalities that all come like a breeze out of the infinite into the manifest.

 

As our practices deepen we sense the great power in our expression of words and their effect on the world around us. We speak more clearly from the heart of wisdom and compassion and feel devotion bubbling up inside us.

 

A downward and an upward facing triangle layered on top of one another create a star shape and the symbol for the wind/air element. The sacred seed sound is “yam”.

 

In Yoga practices we often invoke the powerful monkey deity of Hanuman as the expression of Pranic forces manifesting as devotion, love and servitude. We expand our own unique abilities and strengths, while remaining humble in our hearts.

 

Om hum hanumate namah

 

5) Ether

 

Space element (akasha) is the principle of vacuity and three- dimensional extension. It is the vast, open void…infinite, limitless, and borderless which gives rise to the great undulating, pulsing vibration of our Universe and all within it. Here we experience spaciousness, our infinite Source, and divine core essence as an unmanifested, limitless potential of possibilities.

 

On our mats we continually return here to our soft breath, our beginner’s mind, and humble hearts of unconditional love and kindness.  We may experience Space element at the crown of our hearts where we open to receive the energy of the Cosmos and radiate it down our bodies. The symbol is the thousand petal lotus flower and the sacred seed sound is “ham”.

 

We may invoke and worship the great MahaShakti as everything emanating from the Pure Awareness and Consciousness as the power that allows us to feel, to touch, to taste, to see, and to hear. She may take on a myriad of forms and images and qualities, but she is the great pulse of the Universe, always and ever-present.

 

Om maha shaktayei namah

 

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