Yoga and Your Nature: What is Your Element?

Just as in nature, we all hold each of the elements within. But do you know which is your dominant?

This can relate to your astrological sign, but also the developmental stages within chakra psychology (you can read about this in more depth in the amazing ‘Eastern Body, Western Mind by Judith Anodea). 

In chakra psychology, it’s believed that we each have a dominant element – based on the element we come into this world with (our astrology sign) plus our upbringing and how we progress through the various developmental stages. Your dominant element will drive your thoughts, actions, relationships and motivations, and will also determine the element where you are most deficient (your opposite element and the key to bringing you back into balance).

Air Types

air type

They are the dreamers, the ideas people, the creatives and the change-makers. They are rational and logical, analytical and changeable, both in mind and mood. Rarely sitting still, they will bounce from one idea and place to the next, tiring themselves (and anyone who can’t keep up) in the process. 

At their best – they are sociable and make friends easily, they can talk endlessly about a million different topics and love to meet people from all cultures and walks of life. They are the champions of fairness and equality, wanting everyone to feel welcomed and accepted. 

When out of balance – they burn out easily, their minds spinning a web of anxiety leaving them feeling frazzled and disconnected from their bodies. When a problem presents itself, they will suppress their emotions and turn inwards, cutting themselves off from their community until they’ve solved the problem through rationalising and stifling their feelings until they can make sense of them. 

In relationships – they live in their heads just as much as they do in any other part of their lives; dreaming, fantasizing and intellectualising. They need mental stimulation above all else but could also benefit from some grounding energy that will bring them down into their body. They like newness and will bore easily so it’s important to not let the relationship become stagnant – if they get bored, they’re likely to create some drama to spice things up a little, but the one thing you can count on with an Air sign, you’ll never be bored! 

The greatest lesson for air: moving around comes easily to you, but how about staying still? When you can learn to embrace the stillness, the silence, and the slowness, your overactive mind will enjoy a rest and you’ll find ways to ground your numerous ideas into reality. Try a morning meditation practice, calming and grounding foods (think: anything from the earth) and some gentle yin or restorative yoga. 

Earth types

Reliable, loyal and practical, they are the kind of people you want around whether it’s at work, as a friend or partner. They are grounded, solid and reliable and like their lives to follow this pattern. Earth types are resistant to change, favouring routine. They are generally more materialistic than the other types, albeit not in a frivolous way. They enjoy good food, music, art and sex. 

Earth Type

At their best – Earth types are loyal, steady and reliable. They are the friends who will hold your secrets close to their hearts, who will remain constant despite life’s ups and downs and who will inevitably do well in life due to their ability to apply and sustain their energy in a stable way. 

When out of balance, however, it can be difficult to get them to move. They can get stuck in their ideas and comfort zones and will continue to plod along even if they’re not really feeling satisfied or inspired. 

In relationships – they can easily be sated by satisfying their senses with good food, good sex and simply the comforting presence of their partner. When compared to an air or fire sign – who revel in the first throes of dating, playing and dreaming – earth types are less thrilled by the ‘new’ and are more likely to stick around for the long haul. 

The greatest lesson for the earth type: to learn how to introduce more movement and flow into their otherwise routine life. Embracing new challenges, places and people may push them a little out of their comfort zone but they will benefit so much from having a little bit of spontaneity thrown into the mix.

Fire types

The engaging entrepreneurs of the elements, fire signs have a need to feel like they are making a difference (and are being seen for doing so). They tend towards taking action and thinking about the consequences later and are likely to set a fire under other peoples seats also. 

At their best – they are charming and entertaining, joyful and inspirational. They get the party started (with the help of their trusty air sidekicks) and encourage all of us to be spontaneous and decisive. 

When out of balance – Patience is not a strong point of the fire type, if they want something, they want it now and not a moment later. They also have a need to be ‘seen’ and appreciated, which can lead them to let the wrong people in through their tendency to people please. When things inevitably don’t go their way, an excess of fire can cause tempers to soar or on the other end of the spectrum when their fire has been put out, they can turn to a victim mentality. 

The lesson for the fire type: patience. Their natural urge is instantaneous action, pushing forward from a place of passion, but sometimes it’s a good lesson for them to take a breath and pause, to let others share their ideas, or at least to use others as a soundboard before they spring into forwarding motion. When the fires feel inflamed or out of control, cooling foods and flowing activities like yin yoga, swimming and dancing can help them to express their great need for movement through more gentle avenues. 

Water types

water type

Be like water, and go with the flow. This sums up the ever-adaptable water type that can transform to fit into any situation and relationship. Their strong attunement to the emotions of others can be both a blessing and a curse as they learn to navigate the fluid waters of human interaction, often taking care of everyone along the way as they hold the mother’s energy and naturally like to nurture. 

At their best – they are the chameleons of the elements. Highly adaptable and highly attuned to the emotions of others, they can transform, charm, care for and connect with people in any scenario. Their fluidity allows them to fit in easily, sharing a caring and dreamy energy that can help us to escape the sometimes harsh realities of life. 

When out of balance – water types can sometimes be a little too adaptable, losing themselves in the process and adapting, changing and charming to allow for a smooth ride instead of taking decisive action or even opposing the status quo. Led by their emotions, they can easily plunge to the depths, embodying the victim mentality or subtly manipulating others through their emotions. 

In relationships – they are prone to codependence. They rarely take responsibility for their own emotional waves and instead look to their partner on whom they will project. Their fluid, flexible and dreamy nature however makes them the ideal partner to navigate the day-to-day as they’ll take you up into their fantasy land and ensure that life never gets too stagnant. 

The lesson for the water type: create boundaries. Learn to understand where you begin and where your partner/friend/colleague ends. All of this adapting in life can make you forget your separate self and so establishing some firm guidelines of what’s yours and theirs can help you to retain your own identity. You can also look to your opposite sign – fire – and cultivate a little more heat through fire-building activities like HIIT or boxing and relish the spice of life via exotic and warming foods.

lauren brady

Lauren is a Vinyasa, Mandala and Yin Yoga teacher offering online and in-person classes, events and retreats in Barcelona and beyond. She has a particular fondness for astrology and the moon cycles as well as being a lover of nature; all of which feeds into and gives depth to her teaching style. 

Visit her website and check out the unique Yoga & Astrology offering to learn more about your Element and discover how to bring yourself into balance. 

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