The Earth Element is the Stable and Centering Energy in the Body
Life rarely stays the same, throughout our life-time we go through many changes, physically, mentally emotionally, and the way that we react and respond to these changes can have an impact on our physical and mental health. Although we can't change our initial feelings to change, we can notice our reaction and become curious about it, once we become curious we open the door to becoming an observer of the self (Svadhyaya - The study of the self) so we don't become attached to that feeling. We honor and respect how we are feeling but the idea is to be able to pause before we react so that we respond from a centered balanced place. In Yoga and Mindfulness the key is to keep coming back to the breath or what ever your focal point was. The nature of the mind is to think and be active so the intention is not to stop the thoughts but to notice when your mind has wandered away and then bring the mind back, the more you practice this, the quicker you notice that the mind has taken a detour and the more effective you become at bringing your awareness back to the breath or to that place of being centered and calm.
When the Earth Element is in balance we are more capable of coming back to our centre and feeling more grounded and clear.
So this month we'll continue to work with the Earth Element, coming back to centre and .
We'll work with a fun variation of side plank (Vasisthasana). I don't know the official name or if there is a name on this variation but we'll have fun in this unsteady balancing pose.
Supported Kapinjalasana - SupportedPatridge Pose aka Side Plank Variation
Level: Beginners - Intermediate
This variation of side plank is very challenging for the balance which makes a great pose for always coming back to your centre while having a sense of light-heartiness and fun. The qualities of the Earth Element is very grounding, nourishing and motherly, that feeling of coming home, being at peace and a very loving and compassionate nature. This pose is such a great pose for adopting these qualities and provides a wonderful opportunity for Svadhyaya (Self Study), notice what is your reaction to the wobbles; do you get frustrated when you can't balance or do you giggle and try again!
Physically by adding in the back-bend, we will be opening the front line of the body where the spleen and stomach meridian lines run through. Check out last months post here for more info the Earth Element
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL BENEFITS
Helps build mental focus
Tones abdominal muscles
Strengthens obliques (waist muscles)
Helps build strength and stability in the hips and spine
Stretches and strengthens the arms and wrists
Opens up the quads (muscles on front of thigh)
Stretches the chest
Improves posture and balance
Strengthens glutes, hamstrings, quads and claves
Can be helpful for Scoliosis
CAUTIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS
Serious wrist, elbow or shoulder injury
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
HINTS AND TIPS
Before trying to take hold of the foot, start by keeping the top leg straight either hoovering it off the floor or for even more stability keep the top leg straight and the foot on the floor.
Stay stable through your centre the entire time, so as you press the foot and hand into each other and you begin to move into the back-bend keep the navel drawing back and avoid jotting the ribs forward.
Be mindful not to just swing your head back but allow the neck and head to move with the rest of the spine as one unit.
Here is a brief video where myself and Toby demonstrate how to do this funny pose!