The elements in yoga - water
Actualizado: 29 de abr de 2020
Without water we would not exist. In fact, we would not be. We are 70% water and without it, life on Earth as we know it would be an illusion. I always think of water as a healing power. It alleviates pain, cleanses wounds, purifies the soul.
Water teaches you about flowing and we can apply it to all realms of our existence - flowing in our body with free movement, flowing in our minds with open-minded thoughts, flowing in our heart by allowing ourselves to feel our emotions fearlessly.
Water shows us that it is possible to follow the path of least resistance, and not for that stop being strong. Think of a river that manages to leave its mark in the landscape, adding gorges and canyons behind it as time passes.
The energy of water in the chakras
In yoga, the element of water is related to the second chakra, svadistana, located two fingers under the navel and its influence rules the hips, genitals, sacrum and lumbar spine. In here we find everything connected to emotions and sensuality and it is our centre of creative feminine energy. Come to think of it, if we look at the pelvis as a bowl, it isn’t difficult to imagine this part of the body being so intrinsically connected to the element of water.
When we dive into water energy, we work with concepts such as acceptance and empathy. Extrapolated to everyday life, the water element represents how we can flow effortlessly through difficult situations and painful emotions with grace and wisdom.
If energy doesn’t flow naturally, it stagnates in our body. When we are dealing with water energy (creativity, acceptance, sensuality…), it stagnates in the area ruled by the second chakra, manifesting in the form of tight hips that offer little mobility. That’s why we say that emotions and especially fears, get trapped in this part of the body. We often see how this part of the body manifests a lot of resistance (or too little) reflecting a lack (or excess) of the flow of water energy in our body.
In the yoga practice, putting the focus in the water element strengthens and releases the hips, it looses tension and invites flexibility. In order to introduce this element in the yoga practice, we can work with different ideas.
With your breath, visualize the waves of the sea approaching you as you inhale and moving away from you as you exhale. This is a good way to start a practice centered in the element of water, inviting the image of the sea while seated in meditation at the beginning of the practice.
When the water energy is in balance in our body, it moves freely, following its natural path. It’s a creative expression of movement. Therefore, it’s good to add sequences where you can practice undulating movements that imitate, for example, the movement of seaweed with your arms and the whole spine.
It all begins in the hips
As we said before, hips hold a lot of unsolved issued. This is why we must bring our whole attention there. When you practice, initiate the movement from the hips and let the rest of the body follow. Poses such as cat cow or any other undulating movement are a good place to apply this idea.
Look for balance
Yoga is the perfect balance between effort and relaxation. You can apply this idea in every pose. Whatever pose you are practicing, do not only put your focus on the active part, where you are stretching and activating the muscles. Besides that, pay attention at the same time, on how you can find a way to relax in the midst of that physical effort. Observe the expression of your face, the possible tension in your neck and shoulders and give yourself permission to soften your effort.