Monday, October 1, 2012

Elementary, Dear Yogi!

Here at Grateful Yoga, we like to occasionally pick a teaching from the yoga tradition and explore it in our classes. As the cool, dry air of fall settles in, it seems like a great time to study the yogic understanding of what makes the seasons turn: the dance of five elements of earth, water, fire, air and space.

Mathematics gives scientists a language to describe the workings of Nature from the outside. The five elements play a central role in the language of yogic science, which allows us to describe the intersection of the exterior world with the interior space of human consciousness (largely out of reach of scientific quantification.) The elements are a conceptual hub that interconnect a wide range of inner and outer phenomena: phases of matter, forms of energy, different tissues in the body, the five senses, organs, cardinal directions, energy patterns (vayus), chakras, emotions, qualities of thought, and many more.

To understand the five elements is to understand ourselves as an interplay of subtle forces. They are a tool to help us perceive ourselves more clearly, and thus gain the opportunity to make choices in alignment with our intentions. Ayurveda uses the map of the elements to design practices in support of healing and optimal health. Yoga seeks to purify and ascend the ladder of the elements to reach what lies beyond them.

All of the teachers at Grateful Yoga will be teaching variations on the elemental themes over the next 10 weeks. Don't worry - we won't be lecturing, and there won't be any quizzes (though there will be a handout!) We'll be practicing in the same way as before, but observing ourselves through a new lens. We hope you'll join us in this exploration.

Our first theme, for the next two weeks, is Earth. The material support of our lives, the cradle of consciousness, stability itself. Just the ticket for this season of change!

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