Earth, water, fire, air, space – the five elements of nature are not only all around us but they are within us. Our bones and tissues; our fluids; our digestive processes; our breath and movement; and all the channels, hollows, and cavities in our bodies…We can easily understand this relationship from a physical perspective but what if we went a bit deeper and considered how these elements show up in our mental and emotional bodies as well? When all my elements are balanced, I am truly “in my element” – that place where I feel calm, connected, and fully awake to the present moment.
Take the element of EARTH – representative of structure and stability. When I’m flighty and all over the place with a busy mind, unable to concentrate or finish what I start, I am lacking that grounding that comes from the earth. In fact, it’s my AIR element that’s out of whack, as it is representative of mobility, not just in the body but in the movements of the mind. The last thing I need during those times is fast-paced activity and over-stimulation and a jog on a windy day. Instead I can choose to take a break, get down on the ground and do a few slow yin yoga poses, eat some warm sweet dense food, and pause for a few long deep relaxing breaths.
I naturally have a strong digestive system, which is represented by the element of FIRE. When this fire is excessive, not only might I be cranky and irritable and impatient, but I add fuel to the fire by drinking an espresso! A smarter option would be a cool glass of pure water and a time out with some cooling breaths, quiet company, and soothing sounds. For those of you on the other end of the spectrum with a low FIRE element, you might notice your digestion is sluggish or you feel chilled. Your mind might be dull and your perception not quite as sharp. What you need is a bit of spice in your life and spice in your food! Time to “fire up” your metabolism with motivating music, invigorating (but not over-heating) activities, and positive affirmations with love (not anger) in your heart.
If you happen to feel congested at this time of year, it’s not unusual. In the damp cool spring weather, your WATER and EARTH elements might be out of balance showing up as more mucus, phlegm, stickiness, and heaviness in the body. You might feel down, lethargic, or even apathetic. With lots of viruses floating around out there, your immune system might feel like it’s under attack with colds, flus and allergies. Flushing your system with warm herbal teas and fresh water can help as well as sweating it out – let that WATER element flow! Then add some AIR and lightness to your life with uplifting music, the warmth of nurturing friends, light airy meals (think salads!), and sunshine.
It’s not surprising that spring time brings the urge to cleanse and detox your body as well as spring clean your house! It makes sense – at this time of year, we want to feel less congested, less restricted, and more spacious…Ahhh the element of SPACE! Ridding your body of toxins, clearing your mind of negativity, and removing clutter from your living space is necessary to support new growth and transformation. As the natural world comes out of hibernation, so too do we feel the pull to stretch our legs, get outside and re-connect with the natural world through all our senses – smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing. By witnessing the elements of nature and considering their counterparts within us, we understand that we really are an inter-connected and vital part of this universe. May you be “in your element”!