Yoga is said to help purify and balance the five elements of nature and, thus, to restore health. According to Sri Swami Sivananda, the cleansing techniques to control the five elements are called Buddhi Shuddhi. Apart from that, yoga also provides techniques to gain control over the elements, which is referred to as Bhuta Siddhi.
Understanding the five elements theory and how it forms the world and the structure of our body and mind paves the way for a more advanced yoga practice. This is why knowledge of the elements forms the basis not only of Ayurveda but also of yoga therapy.
Actually, any yoga practice works on the five elements – whether or not you’re aware of it. However, there are certain asanas and techniques that are specifically aimed at certain elements.
Earth element forms all solid and muscular structures in the body such as bones, nails, and teeth. Consequently, a balanced Earth element supports confidence, resilience, grounding, and strength. Focusing your yoga practice on this element can help mitigate stress and feelings of uneasiness.
You can connect with the earth element by regularly practicing grounding and balancing asanas to find stability and build strength. These include balancing poses like Mountain pose (Tadasana) and Tree pose (Vriksasana) since they are a great foundation for all other standing poses, help improve posture and stability, and strengthen the leg muscles.
To further build up your strength and confidence, practice advanced standing poses such as all Warrior poses (Virabhadrasana), Eagle Pose (Garudasana), or Crow pose (Bakasana).
So, whenever you feel ungrounded, focus on practicing earthy yoga poses since they have truly grounding and stabilizing qualities to make you feel safe, secure, and more self-confident.
To get down into the roots of your body, to build stamina and strength, and to connect to the ground to receive its nourishment, flow together with us to a grounding Earth Vinyasa.
Ground yourself in a nourishing Earth Vinyasa practice.
In contrast to the solid structure of the Earth element, Water is all about fluidity. It’s said to have the ability to heal, calm, and cleanse. A Water-focused yoga practice is rather gentle and playful and is often used in cleansing practices to purify the internal organs and balance the digestive fire.
To incorporate the Water element in your yoga practice, focus on poses that flow from one to another with the breath like Cat & Cow or Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar).
Connect to your Water element with a few rounds of Sun Salutation with David Lurey and Mirjam Wagner.
Apart from that, hip-opening asanas help to restore flexibility in the pelvis. These include Bound Angle pose (Baddha Konasasana), Crescent lunge (Anjenyasana), any version of Pigeon pose (Kapotasana) – and of course Mermaid pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana).
During your yoga practice, focus on creating space, flexibility, and mobility in the spine. Try to deepen your stretches and to release any tension and unprocessed emotions.
The practice can be a pulsating and rhythmic play to awaken the fluid and emotional body. You can do that, for example, with us Water Vinyasa practice.
Use a Water-focused Vinyasa to awaken your fluid and emotional body.
Since the element Air is embodied in the breath, it relates to the flow of prana (vital energy). A well-balanced Air element within the body makes breathing smooth and steady and, thus, calms the mind and the thoughts.
Regular yoga practice encourages deep breathing and learning the proper use of the breath. Incorporating breathing exercises (Pranayama) into your yoga routine can help you find lightness and inner power. It’s also possible to use specific breathing techniques to identify whether the balance of the 5 elements of our body is disturbed and to consciously restore that balance.
It’s therefore a good idea to bring awareness to the breath and connect to the Air element before starting any yoga practice. You can simply do this in an easy seated pose: Sukhasana.
Chest-opening backbends are particularly helpful to increase breathing capacity. These include Cobra pose (Bhujangasana), Wheel pose (Dhanurasana), Camel pose (Ustrasana), or Dancer’s pose (Natarajasana).
The good thing is that – with the right preparation – backbends are also available to you even if you’re not flexible yet.
If you want to experience the opening effects of a backbending yoga practice on your breath, let us take you through a variety of backbends in her Air Vinyasa practice.
Open the channels for your Air element with various backbends in this Air Vinyasa.
The element of Fire in our body is responsible for our metabolism and for regulating body temperature. This is why dynamic asanas increase Fire in the body through movement and flow.
To connect with the Fire element in your yoga practice, try to move in such a way that you start sweating a little. Perfect asanas for that purpose are rather strenuous poses such as Plank (Phalakasana), Boat pose (Navasana), or Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana) since they help engage the core while also challenging you.
In addition to that, poses like Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) or Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana) gently massage the internal organs and are therefore extremely powerful in firing up digestion.
These static poses should be part of a regular yoga practice to achieve balance by cooling and calming the metabolic fire. This also includes the probably most static pose of all: Savasana.
Ignite your power, purpose, and confidence in a Fire Vinyasa practice with Cristi Christensen. This practice also includes the powerful Breath of Fire to activate your energy, oxygenate your blood, and purify your body from any toxicities making it a physical, mental, and emotional work.
Ignite your power, purpose and confidence with a Fire Vinyasa practice.
The Space element is a container for all the other elements and imbalance can lead to feelings of emptiness and isolation. A balanced Space element, on the other hand, enables you to freely express yourself and feel connected with the world around you.
This can be achieved through asanas that open the throat like Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) or Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) as well as through restorative yoga poses such as Reclined Bound Angle pose (Supta Baddha Konasana) and Savasana.
Apart from that, Pranayama techniques such as the oceanic breath of Ujjayi help to bring awareness to the breath, body, and mind. The same goes for seated meditation to tap into something outside of ourselves in a truly subtle and restorative way.
A yoga practice will help you open up into the vastness and expansiveness. Maybe, you want to go beyond the boundaries a yoga mat usually provides with us Space Vinyasa practice. This will enable you to open up to full potentiality and the spontaneous uprising of all creation. Be prepared to move in a new and different way!