Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2018 issue.
The elements are all around us — we can see and feel them every single day. The elements are also apart of us internally. The elements of Fire, Earth, Air and Water each represent a type of energy that serves a purpose within everyone.
Fire element represents our radiant light, warmth, brightness, and expression of self. Earth element is described as feeling grounded and centered, more attuned to the physical world, patient and disciplined. Air element symbolizes creative expression through thoughts and ideas, visualizations, social interactions and mental sensations. Water element is connected to our emotions, intuition, deep reflection and empathy for others.
The elements are mentioned in multiple subjects; for example in the Chakra System, which is made up of seven energy centers in the body where energy flows through, the elements are the base for our first four Chakras. In Astrology each zodiac sign represents a specific element. In Ayurvedic studies, the Doshas (which are described as the dynamic state of balance between the mind, body and environment) also include the elements. Dependent on the day, time of year, body type, mental and emotional state, each specific element can feel balanced or imbalanced. We can intentionally balance our internal elements by practicing specific rituals. When we feel imbalanced it’s a reminder to our mind and body to pause for a moment, connect back to ourselves and honor the inner rhythm.
Here are a few rituals based on balancing the elements:
- Go barefoot, step into the earth, feet rooted into the dirt.
- Pack a picnic, sit in the park, play with the grass, run around the trees.
- Garden and plant flowers, sink your hands deep into the earth.
- Wander, leave the GPS at home and connect to your inner compass.
- Journal, reflect on what you feel like when you are balanced and centered.
- Practice grounding yoga poses like child’s pose, warrior two, mountain pose and cat/cow.
- Take a long bath or hot shower, give gratitude to the water.
- Enjoy a tea ceremony.
- Sit next to a running stream and listen to the sounds of water moving.
- Play with water, go for a swim or paddle on the lake.
- Create fluid movements with poses like cat/cow, downward dog and flowing back and forth from warrior two to reverse warrior.
- Drink warm teas.
- Eat food with warming spices.
- Breathwork like Kabalabatti.
- Gather around the campfire with friends.
- Honor your light, reflect on how you shine your gifts with the world.
- Connect to your inner desires, what makes you feel awake?
- Try a heated yoga practice including poses like plank, dolphin, core work and balancing table.
- Let the wind inspire your thoughts — sit down to write, draw, paint or create a vision board.
- Wind is also transformative, allowing yourself to shift, let go of thoughts you’re holding onto and allow renewal to begin.
- Sit down with a supportive friends to chat and share stories.
- Brainstorm, create lists of thoughts and ideas.
- Reflect on practicing Self-Love, what does that entail for you?
- Practice inspiring and uplifting yoga poses like, arm balances, warrior three and half moon.
The first four Chakras include the four elements.
First Chakra is our root, located at the base of our spine representing the earth element. Second is our sacral Chakra located just below the navel, relating to the water element. Third is our solar plexus Chakra located at the point where our rib cage meets, in the upper abdominal region, representing the fire element. Our Fourth Chakra is the Heart, located in the center of our chest and is correlated with the air element.
In Astrology, each zodiac sign represents a specific element.
Aries – Fire
Taurus – Earth
Gemini – Air
Cancer – Water
Leo – Fire
Virgo – Earth
Libra – Air
Scorpio – Water
Sagittarius – Fire
Capricorn – Earth
Aquarius – Air
Pisces – Water
In Ayurvedic studies, the Doshas (which described as the dynamic state of balance between the mind, body and environment) also include the elements.
Vata – Either and Air
Pitta – Fire and Water
Kapha – Earth and Water
Photos by Stephanie London.
Along with her role as a CO YOGA + Life™ Ambassador, Ange Stopperan is a yoga teacher, business coach, mentor to yoga teachers, sound healing practitioner, designer of sacred spaces and helps her students learn the practice of creating rituals to help ground and connect to their inner guidance. Ange is a faculty member at the Colorado School of Yoga. Ange runs online business courses for yoga teachers through the Colorado School of Yoga. www.angestopperan.com