Yoga and the element of water

What is it about water’s effect on the landscape and environment that is so appealing?  Water is a premium element increasing the value of real estate with its views; generates a soothing quality in spas and therapeutic environments, and nourishes life.  The image of a single drop of blue water has even come to signify the condition of mindfulness.  So what is it about water that produces these effects? 

When I think of water, I think of depth and balance.  Whatever container water is in, it descends until it is level – it’s just its express that way. Imagine the ease we could offer our body and mind if we could allow 80% of our being to have its way in and through us? 

Recognizing water is the element that expresses balance, how can our yoga practice reflect its attributes?  Knowing where the element of water is headquartered, what chakra governs it, and what impact specific sequences and postures have on the water element is key to creating a balanced yoga practice.  A watery practice is appropriate in the evening in preparation for sleep, or any time of the day when the body and mind are too heated – i.e emotions or tempers are elevated – or when emotional healing is needed.  After a centering breath, one could simply begin with a moon salutation sequence before transitioning to the ground or floor and to open the hip structure where emotions are stored.  Ultimately like water, the body will seek the lowest shape, savasana and you can meditate with the sound of water or listen to yoga nidra meditation for deep relaxation. Here the mind can become still like a lake under a full moon,and reflect the soft light of consciousness. 

So next time you are feeling tense, stressed-out or sense you are in danger of causing harm to your self or others with a sharp tongue or attitude, take your mat to the water’s edge – brookside, lakeside or oceanside and listen to the gentle babbling and lapping of water’s movement while you explore the fluidity of your spine.  A water inspired yoga practice will produce a cooling effect throughout mind and body, balance all appetites, support the release of attachments and welcome the reflection of one’s true nature.