It’s the time of year of fluctuation and movement. Have you’ve found yourself feeling a bit nervous, anxious, or difficulty focusing? Are your bones and joints feeling a little achy? What about dry or irritated skin, or even ringing in the ears?
Most recently I experienced this in the tension of my shoulders and the ache of my neck, the imitations of my arthritis are starting to set in as the earth cools and the joints dry.
These are just a few symptoms you might have if you are feeling the imbalance of the season (in Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, this may be called an imbalance of the doshas). These symptoms of movement, changeability and air fluctuation can be observed everywhere in nature. As the winds blow, the air dries and the earth becomes heavy with water one day and dryness the next (think hurricane season in the Northeast). The fall season is intrinsically linked to creativity and flexibility; it governs all movement- internally, it is the flow of the breath, the pulsation of the heart, all muscle contractions, tissue movements, cellular mobility—and communication throughout the mind and the nervous system.
If you practice yoga, this is our season where we are most susceptible to all the feels.
You may know already that we are all stardust, literally. Stellar winds from a giant star cause interstellar dust of oxygen, carbon, iron, nickel, and all the other elements—out there, and eventually, some of it finds its way into our bodies. Of the earth from the earth, dust to dust ashes to ashes…When we speak of the earth element in Seasonal Yoga™ it usually is of the bones, muscles, fat tissue but at the center ingredient of it all well- we are made of stars…
The universe has loads of space
And the gift that it gave to the whole human race
We’re all made of stars
We’re all made of dreams
No matter who you are
You can do what you want
Go where you like
Be who you wanna be
Finding Neverland – We’re All Made of Stars
At the beginning of fall, there is a calmness to the winds as they enter in cool but not cold, the earth still holds the summer’s warmth and the water of rains are heavy one day and perhaps dry the next. It is the season to become bewitched by its beauty and a bit enchanted by its cooling newness. Gradually our schedules change, our diets subtly turn toward warming foods, our clothes that cover us protect the warmth of our bodies, we may find with all this change a tenderness and rawness of our emotions as we work to balance out the fluctuations both internal and external.
We are ruled by the principle of gravity: we strive to go deeper as well as hold things together.
Water always seeks its own level and finds the earth. The feminine energies of this season give us life as well as heal and care for it. Water and earth are the elements of the Mother also known as the Goddess of the Earth. Mother ocean, mother earth.
As the season progresses the manifestation of our daily routine, the food we eat and our finances the way we become malleable and mold ourselves to the fluctuations. If we are strongly set in the ways of the Earth element we enjoy stability, confidence, and flexibility. We become emotionally grounded, make well-informed decisions and do not doubt ourselves while carrying out our responsibilities.
However, too much earth and we become stuck inflexible in decisions. The water element gives us the dexterity to move with grace, change direction and even create beauty with changes (think tree leaves in the fall) we are strong and we are soft. The quality of water carves out mountains yet carries us in the womb.
If we develop earth and water elements in the right quantity, we can experience revelations about our personal contributions to this life and be able and open to fully embrace growth, change with a deep connection to ourselves, others and the world around us.
Do you want to learn more about the earth and water element or any of the elements and how to utilize in your yoga practice or teaching?
How about join Inlet Yoga’s Seasonal Yoga 200 RYT program?
This is part one of a 4 part series of notes, ideas, and understandings of Seasonal Yoga™ through the five-element concepts and ayurvedic doshas. I am hoping this serves as a deeper insight as to what brings us alive and gives greater clarity on our individual human journeys. If you are looking for greater understanding into the 5 elements, we hope you can join us January 2020 at Inlet Yoga where we will explore the 5 elements through the framework of our Seasonal Yoga™ 200 RYT teacher training program or perhaps join us on a lovely retreat to Costa Rica where we will be returning in April of 2020.
Jennifer Vafakos began practicing yoga regularly in 2008 in NYC. Though Jennifer started years earlier it wasn’t until she met a a group of yoga instructors that changed her life and where she become a serious yoga practitioner and student. Registered with Yoga Alliance at the ERYT500 level and YACEP, Jennifer currently runs a yoga studio, leads weekly classes, yoga teacher trainings, workshops and international retreats. In 2016 Jennifer left a 20 year career in Fashion Design and purchased Inlet Yoga from Emma Clagett in Manasquan, NJ. In 2019 Jennifer founded a podcast with New Jersey Yoga Collective’s Bridget Riepl called “Here for Savasana.”
In her weekly classes you will notice a strong influence of Jennifer’s Laughing Lotus training (Dana Trixie Flynn), with layers and influence of Katonah Yoga (as taught by Nevine Michaan) and Seasonal Yoga. Jennifer will reference and inform on alignment, healthy transitioning between shapes, themes of seasons, cycles discovering and uncovering human existence and of layering in music, poetry and laughter in her classes, trainings, and workshops.
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