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.
Hannah seeks to find relationships between nature, cultures, yoga, and art through her writing.
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Fun Yoga in the Park
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