Half Moon Pose at Machu Picchu, Peru
Everything in the universe is energy and many things can be changed with energy. Every person, every thought, every emotion is energy. Our energy fields and systems are alive and intelligent.
Energy fields can be cleansed, balanced, normalized and healed.
Our auras are like magnets picking up vibrational energies that are floating around everywhere we go.
It is critical to protect your aura on a daily basis, especially if you are emphatic and easily pick up on other people’s energy.
Regular aura cleansing is a great way to keep your energy field clear of past attachments and imbalances.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been discussing The 5 Elements. This weeks blog is about surrounding yourself with all of the elements, making yourself at home in nature.
Everything in nature is made up of five basic elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space. Not only our planet, but also the entire universe is formed from material particles in the act of Elements. Understanding these elements, and how we can relate to them, brings us closer to health, knowledge, wisdom, and happiness.
According to Ekhart Tolle, humanity can become awakened back to nature and awareness when he states, “Even a stone, and more easily a flower or a bird, could show you the way… to the Source, to yourself. When you look at it or hold it & let it be without imposing a word of mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you. Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you.”
The elements are one of the most universal insights of ancient philosophies.
In Sanskrit they are known as the pancha-maha-buthas, the five great states of existence.
As much as ten-thousand years ago or more people started to try to influence these powers and gradually made them into Gods; to worship, pacify or manipulate. They humanized the elements which in time unfortunately fed the muddy pool of religious differences.
Each of the five elements represents a state of matter. Earth is not just soil, but it is everything in nature that is solid. Water is everything that is liquid. Air is everything that is a gas. Fire represents the changing between states of matter.
They are qualities and concepts we can witness in everyday life, reminding us that our health and balance are dynamic states of being.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance...You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness.”
― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
These elements have different characteristics in the human experience. In Ayurveda and Indian philosophy, the human body is considered to be made of these five elements. Any disorder in human body indicates imbalance of one or more of these elements. The senses are also each related to an element: hearing (space), touching (air), seeing (fire), tasting (water) & smelling (earth).
If any element is impure or out of balance with another, disease and suffering may occur. Yoga helps us purify these elements and restore balance and health, and to unfold the inner powers and abilities contained in each element.
Dragonfly Pose for Dragonfly Pants!
SENI by Fit Rebel is a line of high performance leggings featuring batik art, which were hand drawn and painted by artists using traditional batik painting techniques.
“Batik is typically featured on formal wear in Malaysia. I wanted to give this traditional art a contemporary twist by creating modern designs and featuring them on trendy leggings” says Nadia Hasbi, founder of Fit Rebel.
These yoga pants were created to inspire women to be more active. The idea is that we will be motivated by the beautiful nature designs to get outside and return to the nature elements, and balance our energies through active movements.
"These leggings are so pretty that you can’t wait to wear them, get out of the house and get active!” Nadia says.
These pants are made out of Lycra (Spandex) and suitable for high performance activity. The art is transferred onto the spandex fabric via sublimation printing, so that the leggings are machine washable and the colors will never fade.
To support this initiative and order one or all of the 5 Batik designs, click on this link: INDIEGOGO
Part of the proceeds of this initiative will go to the artists, supporting and preserving this traditional craft!!!
Photo Credit: Indiegogo
Choose one or all of these unique 5 designs. The Koi fish represents water. The Peacock sits in the tree (earth). The phoenix displays fire. The Hummingbird floats in space while the dragonfly glides through the air!
When I think about all of the Elements thriving in one place, my thoughts drift to the beautiful tropical Hawaiian Islands.
Hawaii's diverse natural scenery (EARTH), warm tropical climate (AIR), abundance of public beaches (SPACE), oceanic surroundings (WATER), and active volcanoes (FIRE) make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists.
The world's largest active volcano is Mauna Loa in Hawaii (FIRE), 13,677 feet above sea level. The Hawaiian islands were formed by volcanic activity initiated at an undersea magma source called the Hawaii hotspot. The process is continuing to build islands; the tectonic plate beneath much of the Pacific Ocean continually moves northwest and the hot spot remains stationary, slowly creating new volcanoes. Fire represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world. It represents drive and passion. Fire can be associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit. It represents our metabolism and body heat, and in the mental and emotional realms.
Photo Credit: Pinterest
Famous coffee and pineapples are grown in the rich volcanic soils of this EARTH. The Earth Element represents hard, solid objects like rocks. Stretching 14 miles long, one mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep, the Waimea Canyon (Kauai) lookout provides panoramic views of crested buttes, rugged crags and deep valley gorges. Rocks are highly resistant to movement or change. We may bring more earth awareness into our yoga practice when we focus on grounding, building a firm base of support, connecting with the solid earth's crust beneath us and finding stability in our lives.
Water, represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world. It can be associated with emotion, adaptability, flexibility, and magnetism. Waves in Hawaii are famous for growing to huge record highs and changing according to the seasons and tides. Other than being surrounded by a vast ocean of water, Mount Wali'ale'ale on Kauaʻi has the second-highest average annual rainfall on Earth, about 460 inches (12,000 mm) per year (WATER).
Northshore Wild Waves by Hannah Faulkner
Hawaii's climate has constant trade winds from the East (AIR). Wind and Air represent things that grow, expand, enjoy freedom of movement, open-minded attitude and carefree feeling. It also represents breathing, and the internal processes associated with respiration.
Hawaiian Airlines lets people enjoy freedom of movement between islands and back to the mainland in the U.S. As an extremely popular tourist destination, millions of visitors pass through each year, adding billions of dollars to the economy.
Photo Credit Pinterest
Space is the primary element within which the four secondary elements emerge, and operate. It holds particular importance as the highest of the elements. This element encompasses the space in between objects as well as the sky or universe. It represents those things beyond our everyday experience, particularly composed of pure energy, spirit, thought, and creative energy.
Space is a door through which illumination happens, through which we become aware of our true Nature.
The ʻiʻiwi is a highly recognizable symbol of Hawaiʻi. The bird can hover in space, much like a hummingbird. The Element of Space is also associated with sound. Its peculiar song consists of a couple of whistles, the sound of balls dropping in water, the rubbing of balloons together, and the squeaking of a rusty hinge. The Hawaiian song "Sweet Lei Mamo" includes the line "The i'iwi bird, too, is a friend".
Photo Credit: Donald Metzner
One of my favorite experiences in Hawaii was on the Kalalau Trail, stretching 11 miles along the Na Pali Coast in Kaua'i. I highly recommend this trek to soak up all of these Elements and find balance.
The trail is notable for its remoteness, beauty, difficult terrain and dangers. Backpacker Magazine listed it as one the "10 Most Dangerous Hikes" in the US. Outside magazine rated it as one of "The 20 Most Dangerous Hikes" in the world.
My mother and I hiked the first section of the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi’ai Beach as a moderate day-trip.
There are so many opportunities to view the vastness of the sky (Space), feel the warmth in the breeze (Air), climb over and around rocks (Earth), view the flow of waves, streams, and waterfalls (Water). We didn't actually see fire, but campers probably prepared a fire at night to cook their food.
This trail is a lesson for awareness and really being present. Notice your surrounding and your limitations. Luckily, we knew that it was getting late and the tide was rising. Our energies were getting low and it was time to turn around.
Fire is that part of nature that transforms one state of matter into another.
The Fire Element manifests in the heart of the sun to the warmth of a cup of coffee, from the molten core of our planet to the energy stored in our food as fat, sugars, and proteins. Fire fuels the stars and dances through the sky as lightening in a thunderstorm.
We use fire to purify our water, transform the state of our food by cooking it, and to warm ourselves, either in the rays of the sun directly, or through burning fossil fuels that grew in the sunlight of ages past.
Fire can be considered a destructive element. In the movie, The Jungle Book, "The Red Flower" is what the animals call fire, something humans can create and they cannot; they fear its destructive properties. The king of the apes wants to learn how to create the Red Flower so that he can have more power and control over the other creatures.
We must try to balance our use of fire and be careful with our desire for power. Willpower is important, but power over others is dangerous and destructive.
In the surrounding San Diego area, wildfires break out every year in October as the earth and air become dry and the sun shines stronger. Many people lose their homes to these wildfires that are often sparked by human negligence (almost finished cigarettes cast into a field, campfires started where they shouldn't, malfunctioning of electric wiring and equipment).
If we do become victims of fire, we can choose to see fire as something transformative that can happen to us.
In 2003, my parents’ house, in Sacramento, caught on fire through an electrical wiring problem. They had to move out and live in an apartment for a year. The time of misplacement was an opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone and see life with a new lens. Over time, the upper half of the house was reconstructed and improved.
On the other hand, Burning Man is an annual festival in Nevada dedicated to transformative and creative processes.
Fires can be created intentionally as bonfires for warmth, entertainment, destroying something old, or as a signal for help.
Although I have not personally tried this, I have heard that bonfires have also be created as a ritual in some ancient and present yogic cultures because it acts in a way by which we can purify, empower, and control the other states of matter. Agnihotra is a healing fire from the ancient science of Ayurveda. It is believed that people can make changes in the atmosphere with Sanskrit mantras (ancient language of vibration) and fire prepared with specific organic substances, timed to the sunrise/sunset biorhythm. It adds to a holistic approach to life in a process of purifying the atmosphere. Thousands of people all over the world have experienced that Agnihotra reduces stress, leads to greater clarity of thought, revitalizes the skin, purifies the blood, improves overall health, and gives one increased energy.
Holistic Healing in Cusco, Paramatma
Tapas, one of the Niyamas in Patanjali’s 8 Petals (Limbs) of Yoga, literally it means to heat the body to cleanse it through self-discipline and heat-building yoga poses. We can direct our energy to enthusiastically engage life and achieve our ultimate goal of creating union and balance.
The symbol of Fire and the Sun relates to our 3rd Chakra energy center, just above our naval. When this center is balanced, we feel willpower, motivation, ambition, enthusiasm, courage, zeal, decisiveness, and self-discipline.
When this energy center is out of balance, we feel anger, jealousy, immoderacy, irritability, quarrelsomeness, violence and an urge to destroy.
The Ring of Fire is an area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. It forms a 25,000-mile horseshoe shape and contains 75% of all active volcanoes on Earth, from which hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a fury magma chamber below the surface.
Photo Credit: Britannica
A perfectly symmetrical volcanic cone, Mount Fuji, Japan’s tallest and most famous mountain, at 12,389 feet high, is an active stratovolcano in the Ring of Fire. It sits about 60 mi south-west of Tokyo, and 75-miles west of Kamakura can be seen from the beach on a clear day.
Even though the last eruption was back in 1707, it has been commonly reported in the media that Mount Fuji's heat is building, with its magma chamber at 1.6 mega pascals, higher than it was in 1707. As this volcano sits on three tectonic plates, recent earthquake activity suggests that another eruption is imminent.
Although it has been argued, a British missionary Bob Chiggleson (1854–1944) suggested that the name Fuji is from the Ainu word for "fire" (fuchi) of the fire deity (Kamui Fuchi).
People are drawn to its qualities of power and mystery...when will it errupt?
People are also drawn to it's transformative qualities as it has been the object of pilgrimage for centuries.
In the classic story of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, a goddess deposits the elixir of life on the peak, "Thus from an early time, Mt. Fuji was seen as the source of the secret of immortality."
The summit has been thought of as sacred since ancient times.
It is thought that the first recorded ascent was in 663 by an anonymous monk.
Mount Fuji has inspired famous artists and poets. This volcano is a national symbol immortalized in countless works of art, including Hokusai's 36 Views of Mt. Fuji, a series of landscape prints (1760–1849) depicting Mount Fuji from different locations and in various seasons and weather conditions. Further, Utagawa Hiroshige created similarly titled prints called 36 Views of Mount Fuji (1858).
Hokusai's 36 Views of Mt. Fuji
Hiroshige 36 Views of Mount Fuji (1858)
When I think about Mt. Fuji, I’m reminded of my trip to Kamakura in 2008, less than an hour south of Tokyo and sometimes called the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura offers numerous temples, shrines and other historical monuments.
Kamakura is especially famous for The Great Buddha, a bronze statue of Amida Buddha cast in 1252, which stands on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple. With a height of 47 feet, it is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan, surpassed only by the statue in Nara's Todaiji Temple.
I remembered seeing on a map that there were some nearby hiking trails to hidden temples in the forest, so I led my small group farther down the street until we came in contact with the unlabeled Daibutsu Hiking Trail.
“[T]he joy of travel is not nearly so much in getting where one wants to go as in the unsought surprises which occur on the journey."- Alan W. Watts, The Way of Zen
We came across several beautiful temples and candle-lit caves, including Jufukuji Temple, its founding priest was nobody less than Eisai, the man responsible for introducing Zen Buddhism into Japan.
The Buddha defined the Fire Element as “that by which one is warmed, ages, and is consumed, and that by which what is eaten … gets completely digested.” In other words the Fire element within is metabolism. It’s our energy.
In his Fire Sermon, Buddha preaches about the dangers of having an imbalanced fire element when he states, “We’re burning with desire. We’re burning with craving. Everything about us is out of control.”
When we start to meditate within the body, we realize the imposition of an ego on the body and the energy system. When this awareness begins to soften, our energy flows more naturally.
Yoga Poses for Balancing Tapas and Motivated Fire:
Hannah seeks to find relationships between nature, cultures, yoga, and art through her writing.
Fun Yoga On the Bay
Travel the world with me through yoga!
These themed lessons are fun for all ages and levels at Mission Bay Park.
See the page, Park Yoga, for more information!
Lessons from Abroad