This wisdom is ancient, but it is accessible to us in the modern age. We can use the philosophy of the elements as a lens through which to look at our own wellness habits in a tangible way. This helps us to connect more with what we can do to feel truly healthy and content.
There is no better time to consider this than winter – when life is stripped back and more simple, we can see more of its natural form. We also have the space and time we need to make more conscious, nourishing and sustainable choices.
Here is some insight in to what each of the elements stands for, why that matters and what we can begin do at a simple practical level to bring ourselves more in to balance with them and so more into balance with ourselves.
Is associated with love, freedom, and openness. It is related to the heart chakra, so any yoga poses that open the chest support better alignment with air. Try cobra, cat/cow and bridge pose.
Breathing well of course also connects us better with the element of air. Structured breath techniques are a useful tool for this; consider techniques such as the 4-7-8 or ‘relaxing breath’ technique and heart-centred breathing.
In balance fuels passion, confidence, willpower and transformation. In yoga try a sun salutation sequence and plank pose. When it’s cold, eat warming spices like ginger, cinnamon and cumin and vegetables like parsnip, leek and onion (when it’s warm, the opposite applies – eat cooling foods because fire over stimulated can lead us to feel angry or aggressive). Catch the sunrise or sunset where possible and get as much sunlight as you can.
Nourishes us – when we are in tune with it we are calm, creative and more in connection with ourselves and others. In yoga, poses that open the pelvis help, such as pigeon pose and low lunges. Take baths (ideally with some Epsom salt added for an added detox), wash your hands when leaving places and take a swim – these are all useful ‘water’ practices, good for the body and for the mind. Also remember to stay hydrated – this is critical for wellness and overall balance.
When we’re in balance with Earth, we feel grounded, safe and strong. Child’s pose, warrior I pose and tree pose are excellent yoga poses that ‘earth’ us. Eat food that has been grown in the ground, such as root vegetables, sweet potatoes and squash. Also eat foods rich in minerals (such as sea salt), leafy greens, or nuts. Lastly, don’t forget my favourite grounding practice – walking in nature (ideally barefoot though I couldn’t recommend that at this time of year!)
I’d love to hear how you get on with using these practices to bring balance back in to your life – you can email me at [email protected] if you’d like to share!
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