Archives for posts with tag: element water

Anatolian people believe that three radiations of heat fall into the air, water and earth to herald the beginning of spring. The first radiation fell into the air last week. First into the air, then into the water and then the earth… In my previous post, I had written about the yoga classes I thought in the week when the radiation fell into the air and how we tried to prepare our bodies to changing weather conditions and the spring. The radiations herald the beginning of spring. And, we can prepare our bodies to the spring by practicing in line with these elements.

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The raditations would start falling into the air, heralding better and warm weather conditions. The first into the air on February 20, the second into the water on February 27 and the third into the earth on March 6 (March 5 in leap years).

We had worked on the element water in the first week. This week, it was time for the element water. Element water was related with being in the flow, action and movement. It was about change. Instead of resisting, to be with the flow and to move. But not a disgraceful move, but moving with grace. As if we are dancing. The flood was also a type of water but it was destructive. However, a brook was also a water but it was calm and serene. To be like a brook, not flood. To be calm and serene and move this way…

The element water was also related with the second chakra, i.e. the “swadisthana chakra” (sacral chakra). Flexibility, elasticity and female energy. Hip opening series… Creativity and to love ourselves. To love and get rid of all negative emotions that take shelter in this chakra.

Flow and action were important in a yoga class on the element water. Change was important. Therefore, we should practice a “vinyasa” (flow) class. To move, to sweat and feel the element water.

The peak pose would be “hamunanasana” (monkey pose). So, we got prepared for the peak pose by stretcting hip flexor, hamstring and groin muscles. After trying the peak pose, we neutralized and rested the bodies in “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose).

The element water was about change. As Heraclitus of Ephesus said, “you could not step twice in the same river. The river changes and so do you.” Isn’t yoga the same? Every moment is a new moment. And when a moment is being lived, it has already become “history.”

Anatolian people believe that three radiations of heat fall into the air, water and earth to herald the beginning of spring. The first radiation fell into the air this week. Then it would fall into the water and the earth. So they would fall into my yoga classes. In order to harmonize the bodies with the changing weather conditions, I decided to teach classes in accordance with the mentioned elements. This week’s classes were about the element air.

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The raditations would start falling into the air, heralding better and warm weather conditions. The first into the air on February 20, the second into the water on February 27 and the third into the earth on March 6 (March 5 in leap years).

I should plan a flow about element air before the week began. The element air was related with “anahata chakra” (heart chakra) and the breath. It would be wise if I asked the students to use “ujjayi pranayama” (hero breath) before the class began. We should stretch the chest and a backbend should be the peak pose. Air was the main element of the “vata dosha” (body type) in Ayurveda (Indian science of living). “Vata dosha” resembles adjectives like airy, light and creative. The main feature of this body type is instability and inconstancy. “Vata dosha” controls the central nervous system. When this “dosha” is out of balance, it can lead to nervous problems, including anxiety and depression.

“Vata” is associated with not only cold, dark, dry and harsh but also light and airy. Therefore, when “vata” increases in our bodies, it is so normal to fell ourselves lighter, more airy and as if we are flying.

Normally, we prefer balancing and grounding poses in order to balance the “vata dosha.” However, this week I was planning to activate the “element air” and feel the “air” in the body. Therefore, I planned a backbend, followed by an inversion.

As we would try two peak poses at the end of the class, we should prepare the bodies for these two poses. We would strtech the chest, shoulder girdle and hip flexor muscles as well as strengthen the arms, shoulders and core muscles.

The first peak pose was “ustrasana” (camel pose). We should not forget breathing deeply in the pose. I do not know why but we forget to breathe when we backbend. Holding breath is not something we want. If the breath represents our soul, we lose the connection with our soul each time we hold our breath. We should not hold breath, particularly in classes when we work the “element air.” Because air means breath and the vice-versa.

We neutralized the body with a few “vinyasa”s (flow) after the first peak pose. Then it was time for the second: “Pincha mayurasana” (forearm balance). First we prepared the body with “ardha salamba sirsasana” (dolphin pose), and then we stayed for five breaths by first lifting the right leg up and then the left leg up. The last pose was “pincha mayurasana.” Some students jumped to the wall, some asked for my support, some never tried. Those who did not try this pose did “salamba sarvangasana” (supported shoulderstand), “halasana” (plow pose) and “karnapidasana” (ear pressure pose).

We balanced the body after the inversion and ended the class with “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose).

To fell the “element air” when we backbend… To open the heart, backbend and go on breathing… To broaden the chest with our breath… To become upside down and fell the energy flowing out of our body from the top of the head… To get lighter, full of energy and reborn and revive by eliminating the burden of winter…

Have you ever felt yourself tired when you are doing yoga asanas or any other sportive activities? Or can you do another one-and-a-half-hour yoga class after finishing one-and-a-half-hour class? Why do we feel so? Why do we fell so tired one day but energetic the other day? Most simply, because of our daily activities, whether they are too much or not. The other reason is our mind. Once the mind says you are tired, we feel tired whatever we do. Is this the only reason?

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There is another important factor affecting our energy. Most of us forget about this factor. I can hear you ask what this factor is. The moon and the phases of the moon. Don’t you tell me why we are talking about moon without any reason. There is new moon today. Look at the sky, and you will see.
It is possible to see beliefs regarding sun, moon, solar and lunar eclipse in Central Asian cultures. “The sky” is sacred for Turks who are living in a wide geography from the Central Asia to Anatolia. For this reason, there are beliefs and rituals regarding the sky, sun, moon and other natural events. In Turkish mythology, there are many sayings about the sun, moon and other natural events and solar and lunar eclipse.
In old Turkish beliefs, beliefs regarding sun and moon are inseparable. These cultures believe that the sun and moon are relatives. Respect to the sun, moon and stars affected daily life of Turks. For instance, the Huns searched the phases of sun or moon when starting a new project and made their decisions according to the conditions of the stars. Moreover, Turks believed that the God gave the duty of preservation to their leader as given to the sun and associated their leader with the sun.
Old Turks showed their respect to the sun and moon by referring to them in their epical stories. For example, In the Oghuz Khan Epic, Oghuz Khan’s mother was named “Ay Kagan” (Moon Kagan) and some of their children as “Ay” (Moon) and “Yildiz” (Star).
Beliefs regarding moon are more than those regarding moon probably because the moon is closer to the sun and it has many phases. The rise and fall of the moon were perceived as death and birth by old Turks and therefore, full moon was depicted as “old age” or “death” and new moon as “renewal”, “youth” and “resurrection.”
Moreover, moon is a healer according to these beliefs. A person who sees the new moon and chants “I have seen the new moon and my callus has gone away” believe that his/her callus is gone away. Similarly, a person with a wart believe that it will go away as s/he chants “I have seen the moon and my wart is gone away.”
In astrological aspect, new moon is the time to seed plants and make preparations. It is related with new beginnings whereas full moon is the time when we end up, conclude ongoing incidents or projects. If we want to start a new project, we should prefer new moon time, and prefer full moon time if we want to give up or leave anything. New moon is related with male energy but the full moon is related with female energy.
After giving some examples about our own beliefs and a few astrological examples, I want to talk about the phases of moon and yoga. What’s yoga got to do with the phases of the moon? I think this is the question in your mind. Surely, it is related because 70 percent of our body is made up of water. Just try to remember science lessons. The moon, water and tides… Has this meant something to you? Let me try to explain it as much as I can.
Most of our body is made up of water and therefore in new moon and full moon times our body is affected just as the seas or oceans during tide times. In new moon times, we feel ourselves tired and exhausted but in full moon times we feel strong. In full moon time, the “prana” (life force) in our body has an upward move with the effect of the moon and we can force ourselves more than necessary during these days. The full moon energy coincides with our inhalations and the “prana” is so strong at these times. These times are when we expand, have an upward move, and feel ourselves energetic but do not touch on a strong base, which can lead to an injury.
However, the new moon times, we feel exhausted and tired due to the effect of the moon and this time coincides with our exhalations. At this time, the “apana” (the downward energy in our body) increases and this is the time we constract, move downward, feel ourselves calm but ground firmly.
To this end, we do yoga, especiallly Ashtanga yoga, in the days between new moon and full moon days because this is the only time that we can keep our prana in balance. Only to protect our body and ourselves and to live in harmony with the natural flow.
Also, it will be useful to remember that Hatha yoga is set up of two words, including “ha” (the sun) and “tha” (the moon). Hatha yoga is a style of yoga we do to balance the energy of our body according to the changes in our lives, i.e. to balance the solar and lunar energy, or male and female energies, in our bodies.
Since the beginning of the article, I have tried to talk about the effects of natural events, particularly the sun and moon, on our bodies and cultures. Since the moon and sun are a part of nature, it is our duty to live in harmony with them. So why do we oppose to natural balance or flow when we can live in harmony with the nature, be in unity with it, and be yoga with it?