Yoga With Rob Chambers


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Focusing on the four elements

Get into your chosen position. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Establish a regular rhythm, pausing at the top of each breath and again after exhaling. Think of your breathing as the element of Air within your physical being and consider that when you are tense you are restricting the flow of prana, the universal energy throughout the body, and that when you are in a hurry shallow breathing prevents this life force from reaching your vital organs. Decide that you will become more aware of your breathing from this moment forward.

Now consider the circulation of Air in the cycle of nature, how the plants, the insects, the birds and the animals are interdependent through their part in the process, and that even the creatures in the depths of the ocean are essential if the balance is to be maintained.

Next become aware of the skeleton which supports your body and the muscles that give you movement. Think of your bones, your muscles and your organs as the solid Earth element of your physical being and consider that these too need nourishment and nutrients to maintain the mechanical functions.

Next sense the blood circulating through your veins to the tiny network of capillaries which carry the oxygen to all your vital organs. Think of this as the Water element of your physical being. Now extend your consciousness to the outside world and visuaIise the vital cycle of Water which replenishes the forests and the fields, the valleys and the mountains. See the trickling streams which bring essential minerals to fertilize the low lands and the dew hanging from the leaves of plants in the morning sunlight. In every droplet there is a rainbow as the light is refracted as if in a prism. See the full spectrum of colours and consider that even the smallest particle is an expression of the 'Universal Force'.

Now sense the heat in your skin which is generated in the tissues and consider that this regulation of body temperature is also vital in maintaining the life force and that it too functions without the need of your conscious mind. Think of this heat as the Fire element of your physical being.

Next become aware of the mineral element in your body in the bones, which appear solid but are continually growing. Think also of the basic minerals that you and everything in the universe are composed of, and how they also maintain the chemical balance in your body.

Now become conscious of the vegetable principle within you, which governs growth, regeneration of the cells and the continuation of the species so that more souls can be born. Consider that these functions depend upon the four elements 'in the form of nourishment (Earth), light (Fire), Air and Water and resolve to be more mindful of them instead of taking them for granted. We can use even mundane things such as eating, drinking and breathing in a meditation and derive more nourishment for both body and soul by doing so.

Next become aware of the animal principle within -your vitality, curiosity, instinct, cunning, sociability and mobility. Consider where humanity would be without these attributes. Then become conscious of your uniquely human qualities - your imagination, inventiveness, memory, reflection and the ability to expand consciousness into the spiritual (higher) realms.

Finally, focus again on the four elements: the heat in your skin, the air in your lungs, the blood in your veins and the solidity of your bones which give you form.

When you are ready become aware of your surroundings and slowly open your eyes.