Exploring the Elements: Earth
Earth is our home. Human beings are creatures made of the same substances as found on this planet. It is our physical form for our lifetime. This is something to cherish and be grateful for: LIFE.
My yoga nidra teacher nicknamed me ‘Earth kitten Nid’ for my grounded ways of always being organised and prepared for every eventuality during our trainings. This ability to prepare for physical situations is considered an earthy characteristic as it is very much about physical experience and connection to this world.
I recall very young a fascination with worms and digging up my mum’s garden with my hands. This was odd for such a ‘pretty girl’ as myself, but I loved that earthy feel of soil. I always loved fairies to the point that they were the theme of my wedding – flowers and the slightly darker side of fairies.
In my teens I worked in stage management of theatre productions because my exceptional organisational skills and preparedness were highly valued in this role. I guess it is also why I loved dancing and movement – the physicality of the body and it’s sensory experiences can be very earth like in quality.
This got very lost in being a lawyer. Save for walking my dog and weeding occasionally, I did not connect much with the earth or dance anymore. My early meditations after my head injury were all about grounding. I would meditate on feeling my energy drawing down to the earth’s core and the core feeding me with energy, nourishment and growth in return. This meditation practice was exactly what I needed to draw my energy back into my body to heal. Take the energy away from my painful head and energise me - check out this blog post on the meditation practice I did back then.
It was when I sat in the Atenas mountains in Costa Rica that I really felt that grounded connection come back to me. I loved to go to sleep and wake looking at the mountain from my bed. To teach yoga watching the mountain from the yoga studio. It is a large part of the draw to return there for my retreat in April 2019.
In Greece, I find the mountains less healing and more filled with love. The chalk rock mixed with red iron creates a hue of rosy pink glow just above the mountain lines. A gentle reminder of love between heaven and earth that fills my heart with compassion.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine this element is managed through the spleen and stomach meridians. When in balance the person is grounded, nurturing and compassionate like the archetypal ‘earth mother’. They enjoy preparing and eating food, with sensuous lips.
A person with weak earth energy will often become a meddler or worrier, with a tendency to overwork especially intellectually stimulating areas. Digestive problems arise and the mind will lack clarity of fogginess.
Poor earth energy sufferers should avoid dairy and raw foods, seeking roots and grains to ground. Avoid sugar for energy. Sitting meditation is important for grounding, especially when you feel the torso body connected to the ground.
The best season for earth element is the late summer when the sunshine is more golden. Notice your abundance and growth from the sunshine. Consider how to harvest your life from yourself as a tree growing fruits. Then prepare for letting go in Autumn as the leaves fall and death arises at this time.
The Divine Tree meditation where you practice seeing yourself as a tree can help you connect into the natural cycles of life and your own rhythms.
The earth element instantly connects to roots and creating stability. It is the foundation of growth and the physical, such as bones and muscles in the human body. Emotionally it is connected to feeling stable and confident, yet flexible for considered decisions. Often committed with long-standing relationships this is a sturdy element.
Kapha is the earthy dosha composed of earth and water. The characteristics are more solid frame and muscles of weight-lifters. These characters enjoy routine, are slow to rise in the morning, and enjoy a steady rhythm in their day.
In excess, expression of dullness, sluggish digestion, possible weight gain and despondency can arise.
When deficient, it can lead to feeling ‘spacey’ and unreliable, being anxious or flighty in behaviour.
Supportive activities include:
- Rising early in the morning
- Gentle activities to wake the body including walking, twists & planks
- Sensible and stable routine is important daily especially with meals
- Yoga nidra practice
- Eat root vegetables, herbs like ginger, cumin & coriander.
In my shamanic trainings earth is expressed in tobacco that has come direct from the earth. Considered a healing plant when without the chemicals it is a very earthy texture. You must always have earth to ground in ceremonies and altars, to bring the energy into a safe container.
Nutritionally, often protein is connected to grounding as a sensation in the body. I notice I might eat more meat when I need grounding, even though I dislike the taste of most meats (unless grass-fed organic and local). Protein is the building block of our cells and eating such proteins connects mind and body to the sensation of building the physical body.
For healing work it is important to earth as a healer, but also for the client. To ensure that the experience will be brought back fully into this three-dimensional experience as a healing.
To ground into your body:
- Work with your hands, especially with natural substances like wood and soil.
- Do a grounding meditation like the Divine Tree meditation.
- Massage and the physical touch of the body.
- Eat grounding foods such as whole grains, grass-fed meat and root vegetables.