Do you feel it in the air? That subtle energy change as we move into a new season. How is it making you feel?
I have been meditating on this very question, especially in the light of everything which has happened this year.
As we move into Autumn many of us start to look to the future. 2020 has certainly been a challenging year for us. Now, as we move into a new season, future worries and concerns can really show up, especially as the lazy days of summer draw to a close.
Nature is in transition and we can learn a lot it from it; after all every living thing on this planet consits of energy or ‘life force’ (chi or prana). Without it we would not be; it governs our body, mind and emotions and ultimately, our overall health and happiness.
How Nature (our living world) handles the change of energy (reflected through the seasons), provides us with valuable lessons into how we can help ourselves keep our inner energy balanced and happy and perhaps in doing so, help us navigate lifes challenges a little better.
For those of you who know me well, you will be aware of my interest in the Five Elemental Theory of Traditional Chineses Medicine. Just like its sister practice Yoga, it helps to MOT the body, mind and soul by creating a healthy movement and balance of energy.
The Five Elements: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire are within all livings things (including us) and they each express a different quality of energy. When we look at Nature they are associated with a Season of the year (see above).
Within us, each Element is linked with a certain part of our physiology, personality traits and emotional behaviour – each of these having their own unique energetic qualities too.
‘Balancing the energies of the Five Elements is the basis of staying healthy and well adapted.’ Charles Moss (Power of the Five Elements)
🌻The season of Late Summer is associated with the Earth Element🌻
- The Earth element also appears during the transition between every other season (so Autumn to Winter, Winter to Spring and Spring to Summer).
- Earth is a grounding, stabilizing force and known as the Mother of all the Elements, as it is the Earth which nourishes the other Elements.
- In terms of our own physical beings, the Earth Element is the hub of our bodies and linked to our digestive system. This kinda makes sense as let’s face it, without our ability to assimilate nourishment from food, we simply wouldn’t exist.
- The energy of the Earth Element is a sense of coming home and re-centering yourself. It really brings a notion of being grounded, calm and clear. You know where you belong and where your ‘home’ is. You have a purpose in life; a reason to be here and yes, it is comparable to the characteristics associated with the Root Chakra :).
When our Earth energy is balanced, we feel a great sense of satisfaction and gratitude. The feeling of ‘I am Enough and I have Enough just as I am’.
We can ride the bumps in the road calmly and without drama and we have plenty of room to support others with compassion and kindness (because we ourselves are ok).
When our Earth energy is imbalanced we don’t feel like we have a clear purpose or direction and we lose our gratitude, compassion, and joy for life.
We can become obsessive and worry too much. We can have difficulty with change, suffer poor concentration and become overally dependent on other people to make us happy. Physically it can affect our muscles, slow down our metabolism and create cravings for sweet food. We may suffer with poor digestion and experience swelling or bloating.
Let us retrace our steps a bit. How Are You Doin?
Are you feeling well grounded and optimistic? If so, then it is likely that your Earth is well balanced. If the opposite is true then giving your Earth some TLC is a good next step.
Whichever it is, know that there are 3 simple things you can do right now to help balance your inner Earth element and because we are now in Earth’s season there is no better time to do it.
3 Simple tools to help you balance your ‘Earth’ Element.
Keep A Gratitude Journal
Journaling is a wonderful way of supporting your emotional wellbeing.
To nourish my Earth, I am simply keeping a gratitude diary. For instance, every night before I turn off the lights, I simply write down in my notebook 3 things I am grateful for. Keep it simple.
Worrying about something? Writing it down can get it out of your head. You will be able to nod off to sleep more easily if you give this a go. Just 5-10 minutes of thought ‘dumping’ is enough.
Diet and Eating Habits
Support your Earth by making some changes to how and what you eat. Here are a few ideas to start you off:
- Eat 3 meals a day; be consistent.
- Chew your food and chew chew again. Digestion starts in the mouth!
- Try and avoid eating late at night. The digestive system is at its most powerful in the morning. Remember the saying, breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper.
- Eat at the table and try not to have any other stimulus around (like the TV, a book).
- Try to get seasonally available foods.
- Consume warm cooked food again (especially if you are like me and feel the ‘chill’ when the cooler months come in).
Your yoga practice
A good yoga practice will support your Earth Element (and Root Chakra). Firstly, include some grounding poses to give you a sense of strength and connection to the Earth. Secondly, add some twists to help support your digestive system. Thirdly, utilise some backbends to open up the heart area (this is great for supporting the Earth Meridian Channels which transfer energy around the body). Finally, finish with at least one foward fold to help calm the nervous system and help switch off the worry ‘button.’
- Grounding Poses: to give you a sense of strength and connection to the Earth.
- Twists: for digestion support.
- Backbends: to open up the heart and support the Earth meridian channels (which help move energy around the body).
- Forward Folds: to help switch off the worry button.
Here are some ideas:
- Grounding poses: try Virabhadrasana (Warrior) I,II and III, Utkatasana (Chair), Utkatakonasana (Horse Stance), Parsvottanasana (Pyramid,) Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge), Trikonasana (Triangle), Ashta Chandrasana (Crescent Lunge), Parsvakonasana (Side Angle) and standing balances like (Vrksasana) Tree and Garudasana (Eagle Pose).
- Twists: many of the standing poses mentioned above can involve a twist. In addition, try some seated variations like Half Lord of the Fish pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana) or a supine twist.
- Gentle Backbends: try Sphinx or Bhujanganasana (Cobra).
- Forward Folds: try Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold) or Uttanasana (Standing Foward Fold)
I hope you will try some of these out and see how you feel after a a week or so.
If you would like a ready made practice to support your Earth Element, head over to my YouTube channel and try out my Feel Good Flow. Access it here