After the earth and fire element comes the water element, the element of fluidity, passion and creativity. Balancing the elements leads to good health and well-being, emotionally, physically and mentally. An imbalanced water element results in disorders and diseases of the mind and body. In this article we will look at the various sensory and yoga practices to balance the water element.
Understanding the water element
Water represents a natural flow, passion, creativity and sexual energy. Water is adaptable due to its fluid nature, representing flexibility. According to ancient culture, water was considered the center of life and divine energy. In India, the Ganga river has a holy symbolism with water deities such as Sarasvati and Yami governing the rivers flowing through India. In Egypt, the river Nile represents great water and is known to be the lifeline of civilizations since the Stone Age. It is believed wherever water flows, life springs up within and around it. The Chinese Taoist school of thought considers water to represent intelligence and wisdom, softness and flexibility, while also symbolizing birth and death, and a feminine yin energy.
Reconnecting with the water element
Reconnecting with the water element keeps your mind and body balanced and in harmony. It allows you to connect with your inner passion and creativity, fluidity, femininity, sensuality, joy and ability to flow freely. Let’s look at what are the practices to connect with the water element.
Sensory practices to reconnect with the water element
Sensory practices enable us to connect with the water element through our sense of touch, smell, sight, taste and sound. Cold water therapy, such as a cold shower, is a wonderful touch therapy to balance the water element. It reduces anxiety, improves blood circulation, energizes the body and strengthens the immune system. It balances mood and emotions. Tastes that balance the water element are sweet and salty. Consuming naturally sweet food nourishes the body, calms the mind and is overall soothing and relaxing. Salty foods stimulate the taste buds, encourage the flow of digestive juices and impact the agni or fire element. A few examples of such food are dates, fresh fruits, milk, cashews, seaweed, celery, tamari and miso. You will find these foods bringing more joy and refreshed energy.
The scent of rain or wet earth is a pleasing, soothing and calming scent. Spending time outdoors after a heavy rainfall or by a waterfall has a powerful impact on the water element. Our ability to smell certain scents is heightened. Taking the time to smell the trees, leaves and earth have a positive impact on our immune system, emotions and mood.
For sound, listening to the waves by the seashore relaxes and calms the system. They have a soothing impact. That is why several guided meditations have relaxing sounds of waves against the shore. It allows the mind to tune out and benefits the brain, sleep patterns and mood. Similarly, simply viewing the ocean, the waves or a waterfall provides a sense of calm and improves mental health, happiness, and reduces the feeling of ‘I’, which is ego.
Yoga practices for the water element
The Svadhisthana Chakra
Water is linked to the Svadhisthana Chakra, the Sacral Chakra. It is located in the lower belly and represents everything about the water element, that is, fluidity, femininity, passion, creativity and sexual energy. When balanced and activated, energy flows freely, and we are able to tap into our creative skills.
Yoga poses for the water element
Hip-opening postures like the pigeon pose, cobbler’s pose and the garland pose encourage a sense of flow and fluidity. It activates and balances watery ease and flow that relaxes and releases blockages of the water element. Yoga sequences that involve circular and continuous movements that ease tension and tightness. Other poses for the water element are the standing forward bend, wide-legged seated forward bend and seated forward bend.
Mantras and meditation for the water element
The Svadhisthana chakra is represented by the color orange so a focused meditation on a symbol or object in the color orange. The water element is represented by a downward pointing triangle. Thus, meditating on a mandala, a downward pointing triangle, is also beneficial. The Beej mantra for water element is VAM, and thus for the Svadhisthana chakra. Repeating the mantra VAM also stimulates and balances the water element. Visualization meditation to an ocean or waves lapping against a shore is useful and so is a guided meditation practice while listening to the ocean's sounds.
Pranayama or breathing practices for the water element: One of the best breathing practices for the water element is Oceans breathing or Ujjayi. It stimulates the vagus nerve, which connects the brain and gut, and soothes the nervous system. One can breathe in Ujjayi Breath while doing a visualization meditation and even while practicing asanas that balance the water element. Apart from this, other practices such as practicing the Jala mudra (the gesture of water) while meditating is helpful. It encourages fluidity and flow in the mind and body.
The best way to keep the water element active and balanced is to stay committed and regular in your yoga practice. Join a live yoga class with an experienced teacher who will include practices that keep the water element balanced. You can also practice guided meditations and mantra chanting regularly. This will not only balance the elements of nature, but also keep you healthy and strong, physically and mentally.