By: Kali Basman
“When we are connected to the Earth there is a palpable sense of groundedness, a connection to the center of ourselves and the center of all things”
Yin Yoga is a practice which encourages a softening or surrendering of activity and an observation of present moment awareness. Integrating the Chinese Five Elements into the practice enriches the paradigm of Yin Yoga as a healing modality, as we are each an embodiment of Earth, Fire, Water, Metal & Wood.
During circumstances of imbalance, we can utilize the wisdom tradition of Yoga Asana to organize the skeleton and relax the musculature in specific ways which awaken and enliven gentle self-inquiry and a lubrication of the connective tissues and pathways for immunity, longevity, and vitality.
In a world that’s ever shifting, may you use this practice to find stillness.
In thought patterns which engender suffering, may this practice allow you to see the unity of all things, from the shifting of the seasons to the suppleness of the spine.
Earth Element & the Stomach Meridian: Finding Nourishment and Groundedness
When we are connected to the Earth there is a palpable sense of groundedness, a connection to the center of ourselves and the center of all things. A coming home. We call her “Mother Earth” for she is continuously nourishing and supporting us. She is the foundation of our physical well-being and our direct connection to universe.
Ask Yourself: How do I nourish myself? Earth element therapeutics include connecting with nature, walking barefoot on the earth, eating slowly and consciously, and taking time for things that delight and nourish you.
Seasons. Each element is most dominant in a particular season. The earth element, however, shows up between every season. The energy of the earth element is a gathering back and centering yourself, a downwards, grounding energetic.
Organ Functionality. The stomach sits beneath the spleen, below the left side of the rib cage.
The stomach’s primary function is digestion, to mix the nourishment we uptake with acidics from the stomach to pass substance to the intestines. Mounting evidence suggests the essentiality of the ‘belly brain’, in which emotions substantially affect the digestive and immune response process.
Constitutional Personality Types:
Imbalanced Earth types typically do not nurture and nourish themselves. They can experience a Sense of emptiness and neediness, an insatiable desire to fill a void. Imbalanced earth types are often looking for something to fill them- relationships, food, alcohol/drugs, TV, shopping, work.
Physical symptoms of imbalance: Eating patterns can be dysfunctional, as earth types tend to have issues which center around food and relationships. Sugar/sweet cravings, overeating, bloated belly, Candida are all symptomatic of earth element imbalance.
Emotional symptoms of imbalance: Anxiety, Clinginess, Possessive in relationships, craving of sympathy.
Balanced Earth types are grounded, present, and connected. When they walk into a room, you can sense the way in which they are inhabiting their bodies fully.
Balanced types understanding which activities and experiences are nourishing, as opposed to which ones temporarily fill a desire. They are nurturers, but balance giving with receiving.
The stomach meridian begins at the cheekbones, traces along the jawbone, and spans across the collarbones. It then descends the front line of the abdomen, through the groin creases, and all the way down front of the thighs and kneecaps across the top of the foot, where it ends at the second toe. A Yin Yoga practice to support and balance earth energy in the system would incorporate aspects of the meridian to lengthen and lubricate the connective tissue among those regions of the body.
Earth element postures can include:
utterfly (Baddha Konasana)
Frog (Mandukasana or Bhekasana)
Sleeping Swan (Rajakapotasana)
Saddle (Supta Vajrasana or Supta Virasana)