The 5 Elements of your yoga practice
We can see the Taoist 5 Element Theory everywhere if we know how to look. It represents a circular pattern of transformation reflected in all living things. Recognizing the pattern and seeing where we personally fit into it can help us make better choices and sometimes even explain the seemingly uncanny.
So let’s take a look at the 5 Element pattern of your yoga practice!
You begin with the Wood Element and move fairly quickly in the the Fire Element. In the Wood phase, everything is new: like a seed just starting to take root, gently split open and grow. You're a little uncomfortable in the room (is it just me, or is it HOT in here?!?). You need to set your routine and every little thing can throw you off center - quite literally in the yoga room!
You persevere because the newness starts to give way into something else: the Fire Phase or what I’ll call Passion (since this is Valentine Month). Instead of feeling unsure, your start feeling amazing. Even the impossibility of the some of the posters before you make your experience even more amazing because you are actually doing it, succeeding, determined to get better and even having fun!
Fire passion phase is like the Honeymoon of your yoga practice. You think about it all day long and can't wait to get to class.
But, alas, nothing lasts forever. You move into the Earth phase. This is where you hunker down and do the work. You increase the understanding of your body and the postures. You start to unlock and delve into your heart and soul. Sometimes you don’t want to go to the class - the exciting love affair has cooled - but you know you need it. You’ll feel better, you’ll feel grounded and less crazy. That's all the Earth Element taking hold.
And even the steady and comfortable confidence the Earth Element brings doesn't last forever. The shiny Metal Element starts to cut away at you. This is where you move into the next level of your practice - what ever that means to you. Maybe you’re right there at getting that forehead to knee. Maybe you're bold enough now to take some of our advanced programs, meditations and retreats. You really reap the benefits of your practice, like mining precious metals from the earth. All the varied and beautiful facets of yourself shine forth.
And what is next? Transformation. The Water Element. You look at back at the person who walked into practice that first day and see that you are completely transformed. From this stillness you start to look around again. And guess what is around the corner? A new beginning! The cycle starts over.
I’ve been through this countless times in my 16 years of practice and teaching. Passion waxes and wanes. As the phases of practice move along, I know that there is always something new I will learn about myself. There is always another ledge to reach. Sometimes it’s physical, sometimes more emotional or spiritual.
So learn to see the 5 Element Cycle and embrace your current phase. Because that next season is right around the corner. And it leads to personal growth, passion, confidence, beauty and transformation. And every transformation leads us to a new beginning.