As creatures of the natural world, we are surrounded by, subject to and even composed of five basic elements. These elements are recognised by many schools of philosophy and are referred to by various names. Within the philosophical schools from which yoga as I teach it arose, the elements are known as Mahabhutas. The Mahabhutas are Earth (Prithivi), Water (Apas), Fire (Agni), Air (Vayu) and Space or Ether (Akasha).
As we deepen into yoga practice, we become increasingly aware of the power and influence that aligning with these natural elements can yield, both on the yoga mat as well as in our daily lives. Yoga practice can help us more fully understand these elements as they affect us physically, mentally and spiritually.
The Earth element (Prithivi). Earth is the very ground upon which we live. The particles of energy in Earth are tightly packed and vibrate at a low frequency, thus we experience earth as dense, solid and heavy. Within our own bodies, the Earth element is experienced as the solid cellular structures of our bones and organs. Our sense of smell is associated with Earth. Within our minds, Prithivi brings qualities of steadfast commitment, patience and humility. Spiritually, our Earth experiences will relate to annamaya kosha, or the physical body. The chakra associated with Earth is the Root Chakra (Mooladhara). Continue reading “Yoga and the Elements”
I am so excited to announce the new course dates for Yoga in Action: Off the Mat. Every Sunday in November, Marianne Elliott, Nick Potter and I will be running workshops to help you find ways to”Embody Your Purpose”.
Yoga in Action trainings use the power of yoga to help you become more effective and sustainable leaders in your community. We use the tools of yoga to embody your purpose through self-exploration and transformation, the development of communication and leadership skills, all the way to planning and taking action.
Those of us who practice yoga know how great it makes us feel. We’re happier, more energetic and better able to attend to the needs of ourselves and others when we get on the mat regularly. Modern science is slowly catching up with this ancient wisdom and that’s such great news! It means more people who could benefit from yoga’s precious gifts will be encouraged to give it a go.
A study published this week by researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York touted yoga’s benefits for a certain group of people quite near and dear to my heart: breast cancer survivors. Years ago, my mother had breast cancer. Although the medical care she received in Canada was wonderful, it did not address her overall wellbeing. Her body was being intensively treated and her mind was being inundated with information. Her spirit, however, was struggling to assimilate the experience and ultimately, to heal at a really deep level. At the time, I didn’t know how to help her. Now I do. Although she is no longer alive, I have been given the opportunity to help others like her. Continue reading “Yoga for cancer survivors”
One of the things that has been on my mind an awful lot lately is what I want to be when I grow up and how I can be of service to the world. How can I, as one tiny part of the massive population on earth, make a difference to my community and the world at large? What skills do I have to offer and what do I like to do? And how do I figure that out?
Since mid-January, I have been fortunate enough to be part of a Wellington pilot programme of the worldwide Off the Mat (OTM) initiative. This programme is meant to help yogis to figure out how to be of service to the world using the innate talents and gifts that have been uncovered or accentuated by their yoga practice. Continue reading “Off the Mat”