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Air (Vayu) ~ Motion

How is Life moving through you?

Air is the idea of motion. This includes all physical forces that have the capacity to move things. The element of air is subtle and powerful, a force that exists without form.

Some of these forces include, magnetism, gravity, thermodynamics, and most obviously the wind. Consider the wind to identify the qualities of air: cold, dry, light, subtle, clear, and mobile.

In the body, motion takes form as respiration, nerve impulses, circulation, and movements of the joints. On a cellular level, it is the air element that moves oxygen and nutrients into the cell and carbon dioxide and wastes out.

In the mind, air moves our thoughts. It is the force that propels and motivates action and expression. We see the air element in balance in those who are light in their bodies and move with ease. Psychologically air provides inspiration, open mindedness, and a light heartedness. Those individuals with a nice dose of air in their constitution tend to be social and have "bubbly" personalities.

The subtle force of air is called Prana. It is our vital life force energy. The breath is the reminder of this precious gift of life. Without the breath, we wouldn't be alive. How the breath moves through us is a good indicator of how life is moving through us. Are we breathing deep and whole heartedly? Or do we hold our breath without even realizing it, unconsciously resisting it's flow?

The energetic home of air is at the heart, the 4th chakra, anahata. Anahata means 'unstruck'. This is the beat that has no beginning and no end. Here, we are connected to all of Life. In the evolution of consciousness we rise from the safety and stability of earth, the creativity and desires of water, the will and determination of fire, and move into the expansive element of air at the heart. Here, our personal ambitions broaden to not only include what's best for us, but also what's best for those around us. Compassion, love, empathy, and altruism are qualities of a balanced heart chakra.

The air element is dominant in the season of Fall, as the atmosphere gets cool and crisp. The winds pick up and usher in change. In the cycle of life, air is associated with menopause and retirement. Ideally, at this time we can slow down the 'doing' and enjoy more 'being'. The air guides us into a subtle time of life. As the fire of achievement softens, it gives way to a time of self reflection, wisdom, and grace.

Too much air physically will cause gas, bloating, dryness, constipation, and insomnia. It may also create too much movement, such as tics or tremors.

Mentally, too much air will create a loss of stability, feeling scattered, emotions & thoughts flying, fear, anxiety, restlessness, and insecurity.

Too little air and one may be sluggish, physically and mentally. A feeling of dullness and not being inspired or motivated is common.

To Balance Air Element:

Air gets disturbed easily because of it's erratic nature. Most of us don’t need more of it. We are a society that is always on the go, over doing, and multitasking. Just surfing the internet and flipping through social media increases the mobility of this element in the mind.

Harmony is necessary to balance the air element.

  • Steady routines- slow down, see EARTH balancing practices

  • Emotionally, cultivate faith in what you identify as Life, and surrender to it. This allows the flow of Prana to circulate in it's highest and most useful form.

  • Pranayam- the conscious control of the breath. Harnessing the breath allows us to harness the mind. Click here for a balancing breath practice.

To increase the air element: (if feeling stagnant)

  • Practice Vinyasa Yoga. Focus on the transitions. Create a steady pace.

  • Practice heart opening poses such as: Ustrasana (Camel), Bhujangasana (Cobra), Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge), and Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel).

  • Try Kundalini Yoga. Dynamic movements tied to breath create a pranic rhythm.

  • Be spontaneous!

  • Travel, even locally for now. Check out somewhere new.

  • Take a brisk walk.

  • Read a book, move the mind.

  • Eat bitter foods such as dandelion greens, arugula, kale, collard greens, and brussel sprouts. They are cleansing and lightening.

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