The elements of growth

In this article Sandra explores how the natural elements of Space, Earth and Water work in your body and mind and how they provide the conditions for your development.

The elements of growth

Space

Space is the most highly vibrating form of energy available. In yogic reasoning, everything that exists, originates from one single source – Universal Consciousness. Everything vibrates with energy: it moves, trembles, pulsates.  Every element of energy vibrates at different speeds. You can view space as an unlimited, expansive energy.

Connect with Body

In the body, you can connect this element whenever you relax, release, let go and open up. Every time you let go of tension and limitation by relaxing your muscles and rest your bones, the tissue and our organs, you access space in yourself.

Connect with Breath

Your breath is also a powerful tool that helps you to initiate connection to space; when you exhale you release, you surrender to space. When you inhale, you expand and let space fill you up. Using your breath like this is a powerful way to release the things that block your growth, to overcome and see beyond your limits and boundaries.

Connect with Mind and Heart

Besides your breath and your physical body; the third part of yourself that can become spacious is your mind and your heart (one and the same in yogic terms). When you apply the element of space to your creative mental process, it connects you to this formless “void” in which you get your ideas. In space you are able to come up with new things and make connections that were previously unavailable. Connecting to this undifferentiated state happens most easily when you are without any particular thoughts; worries or anything else that occupies your mind.  The thoughts in your mind tend to run around in circles and limit your possibilities because the mind can only relate to what already is, not what could be. 

Allow creativity to surface…

Your yoga practice develops the state of awareness of limitless possibilities. By simply breathing more deeply, cultivating body awareness and by connecting to something more than the usual chitchat of your mind. With cultivating this state, you allow your deeper creativity to surface; the dreams and desires that freely roam inside can enter your conscious mind . Being aware of this spaciousness inside of you, literally gives you room, the space that is needed for growth.

Practise in class: Grow: Space

Earth

The element earth is the most solid form of energy. As stable as the floor underneath your feet, so is your physical body made of this element. Your physical body is made of bones and muscles, the clearest, most dense part of your being.  Your physicality is the evident separation between the world and your individualistic personality, it houses your soul.

The beauty of form

The tantric viewpoint of the body is that it is a manifestation or form of Universal Consciousness – the essential source from which all creation springs forth. And not only your body, but everything exists from this Universal Consciousness. In the beginning of the creation of the universe, the Big cosmic Bang, manifested everything from the entire universe to the most intricate workings of every cell in the human body. Physical, human embodiment in the tantric viewpoint, is truly a blessing. Your body is not just your vehicle that takes you through life; it allows you to live life.  It enables you to experience life through all your senses and open up to your life, to taste all the different “flavors” that life has to offer you. In the tantric tradition, the body is honored and seen as an expression of Universal Consciousness, equal to all other parts of yourself, like your awareness.

Find inner security through your body

The point of having a body is to experience it fully. The practice thus is not to disengage from the physical body – the foundation of many yogic paths – but to really engage more deeply.  The limitations that you may often feel, in the way of tightness of your muscles, therefore becomes an opportunity to feel and experience your body more fully.  To feel the earth element in you, to feel and deeply respect your body as it is, means you are able to be accept what is, to feel grounded and secure. When you are anchored in the physical body it gives you the “groundedness” that is needed as you step into the unknown, the mysterious territory that will allow you to grow.

Practise in class: Grow: Earth

Water

Where earth is dense, the quality of water is fluid.  The vibration of energy of water is one “step up” than the earth element. Energy is becoming less solid. Where earth is static, water flows.  Most of the physical world is made up of water. Three quarters of your physical body is made up from this element too. It regulates the transportation of nutrients and oxygen, gets rid of toxins, makes your joints work smoothly and regulates much more. The water element in yoga does all that and also works on more subtle levels in you.

The softer element – easily adjusts to circumstance

Like earth, you are still able to feel water, but this element is much softer, it is fluid, you cannot hold it or grasp it; it will simply slip through your hands. Water is never completely still, it always adjusts to circumstance, it accommodates to whatever shape it is poured in. The ability for water to be moving and flexible, symbolizes your flexibility and your ability to change.

In Body

In your body, this element is most clearly felt and symbolized in the pelvis.  “Pelvis” is a Latin word and translates as; basin; a container holding liquid. Frequently, emotions that are held and suppressed are stored deeply in the hips, so by opening the hips, you allow the pelvis to become more fluid and open and let whatever is held, to move out so you can move on. 

In Life

The water element furthermore helps you in your process of growth for you to be able to be flexible when things take a different turn than what you had expected or planned. Life takes you to more unexpected places than what you could ever imagine, so flexibility is needed to stay with it and not get stuck. Water stimulates you to be creative and come up with other ways possible so you can keep on growing.

Practise in class: Grow: Water

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Sandra Carson
Sandra CarsonWith nearly two decades of studying the body, mind and heart, Sandra Carson has developed a teaching style that aims to make your yoga practice more holistic. She is a Certified Anusara® teacher, an E-ryt500, YACEP (Yoga Alliance), a TRE® provider and Keto coach.