The Five Elements in Yoga: Ether
In this series of articles we will explore how the five elements of Nature are being felt and experienced in our own bodies. It is a matter of remembering that we are nature, our bodies, flesh, bones, energy and everything in-between are made of Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space (or Ether). If we break our cells down to the smallest atom, we can see that we are made of the same matter as everything else around us - we are the whole and the whole is us. Check out the first article of the series: Earth, Water, Fire, Air
The ether element brings about the qualities of stillness, expression, spirituality and connection to the divine. Ether is both everything and nothing, it is emptiness but the emptiness where all other elements can manifest. It is the invisible that holds life and gives meaning. Just like the infinite space where galaxies and planets exist - a space that even scientists struggle to really understand due to its infinite potential - it is an element that can be difficult to understand. So read on to get a better idea.
Ancient traditions saw Ether as a god-like element - a "substance" that allowed humans to connect to the divine, where we could connect to an infinite array of possibilities which would also bring us closer to god.
The ether element is linked to our throat chakra (wheel of energy); Vishuddhi, located in the bottom of the throat where sound is created. It is the chakra of self-expression and deep listening, where air and energy transforms into sound. This area of our body is where we can cultivate healthy communication, clear and balanced expression of our thoughts and emotions as well as deep listening, to others and ourselves.
How the Ether element can manifest in you
Is this you*: overly shy, chronic throat soreness, struggle with self-expression, speaking in public, holding back from expressing your thoughts and emotions and/or tendency to over-share, struggle to communicate in a balanced way, use voice and words in an unhealthy manner, struggle to connect to your intuitive power, no spiritual connection, too 'down to earth', close-mindedness.
To cultivate a balanced relationship to the ether/space element, prioritize practices that will help you express yourself in a healthy way, listen, receive and process information you hear in a healthy way, as well as cultivating a balanced spiritual practice that helps you keep an open mind to the world around you. * These are very broad examples of things you may experience when you lack connection with the Ether element or when there is a too high amount of Ether energy in you. I mention these to give you an idea of how this element can affect us, however in order to receive a real diagnosis of how each element affects and impacts you, you should consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner. Ayurveda is the sister science of Yoga and is a wonderful ressource.
How to connect with the Ether element
FEEL THE SPACE
So much of our time is focused on understanding our experience as a physical entity; so switch the focus! Focus on the space between the breaths, the space in your body that allow your lungs to receive air or between your vocal chords to create sound. Notice the space around you, the nothingness and emptiness where all the other elements can become alive. The way the clouds float in the sky, the way a flame moves with the subtle breezes.
LOOK AT THE SPACE
Look up! If you are lucky enough to live in a place where stars are visible, or even if you don't, look up and feel the vastness of the sky and even beyond that, the distance of the sun and the way the moon hangs up; feel the perfection of it all and for a moment, let yourself relax into the idea of not knowing or understanding, of something being so much greater and holding it all together.
CONNECT TO ETHER
"Raise your vibration!"
I don't like to use this expression because it sounds very new age-y and it has been taken out of contexts by the spiritual community in ways that I, personally, find harmful.
But... I will explain; we are animals, living beings that thrive in the natural world through 1) an electrical exchange with the Earth beneath our feet as well the soil providing us with food to survive and 2) receiving sunlight from the Sun, both processes that help keep us alive. Therefore, there is a constant energetic process that happens within us that connects us to the natural world. Now, if we stay away from the sun, the earth, the water and the air, we lower our vibration and eventually die. To me, raising your vibration is about getting back to nature and connecting with the Life Force (prana) energy. Eat foods that are alive, go out in the sun, drink pure water, put your feet in the ground. Basically, go feel all the elements. This will help to keep you healthy on all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Yoga poses: inversions are great to connect to the Ether element, like "legs up the wall" or a supported ans safe headstand, as well as poses that will gently open the throat like supported fish pose. Pranayama (breath-work) is also wonderful, especially Brahmari breath (bumble bee breath) where you exhale with a single-tone humming sound.
To practice with me and receive the recordings of my "The Five Elements in Yoga" classes or join me Live online, send me "ETHER" on WhatsApp +33618836151 or by Instagram DM @josephinecantona