Water : abundance, creativity and nourishment

To be honest, in researching and planning for the Water element I found myself getting a bit uncomfortable. The water element focuses on a lot of things that I find challenging. Because my doshas are kapha (earthy) and pita (fiery) I embrace earth and fire quite easily as they feel natural to me – so Term 1 and 2 although challenging were still well within my comfort zone. Looking into the water element I realise this term is going to be a challenge for different reasons. 

One of the most well known yoga sutras (1.12) states abhyasa vairagyabhyam tan nirodhah. Mastery of the mind (yoga) comes from practice and non-attachment (letting go)

I’m totally down for the practice part. Directing my attention, working diligently, giving things a red hot go. I thrive upon making a plan and seeing it through. But the second part (and the most misunderstood) is more subtle and harder to understand. It’s about not grasping and trying not to control the outcome. It’s the result of the practice, as you feel so full, so whole that you no longer seek outside of yourself for anything. 

I mentioned in my last post the quote from Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor in their book When Love comes to Light that has really helped me to “ surrender to the paradoxical truth that you cannot understand: life is delightfully incomprehensible. When you finally give in, you realise that, instead of striving to understand, you must trust, and then, in trusting, you allow concepts and theories of mind to dissolve.” 

The result is insight and we act not from a place of fear, lack or control but instead from a place of integrity, abundance and love. 

Water is fearless. It also finds the path of least resistance and flows where there is space. Water is not afraid to explore until it finds its way to the bottom. Water has no plan. It simply spreads wherever it can. In the past when it has come to the studio, when I push for something and it’s not right (I didn’t know it at the time) then I just get more obstacles and frustration. When I stop pushing and seeking for the answer, an opportunity I never could have imagined presents itself. By not reacting, the right path always reveals itself. 

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.“ — Bruce Lee

Water element has introspective qualities and is often referred to as the philosopher. Water is fearless. It can change from solid to liquid to gas…it changes. 

In my meditation recently, I have been setting the timer for 20 minutes and just noticing my reactions. I feel a sensation in my body, I react (by adjusting my body). I have a thought in my mind, I react (by thinking of what I must do with that thought). I hear a noise, I react (by wondering what is that noise and think should I get up and see what it is). Reactivity is in our nature to survive – it’s our biology and our evolution. We move away from the threat, we move towards something that will make our life better. I notice my thought, notice it makes me feel a certain way, and notice how the mind reacts by telling me that I like it or don’t like it and then what I should do next. All in a split second.  

After reading the following passage I decided in my meditation I am going to practise not reacting so that in life I could also be better at not reacting and get better at responding and getting clearer in that I have a choice. The difference is living with freedom or not.

“for one contemplating the objects of the senses attachment to them is born; from attachment desire arises; from desire, anger is born; from anger delusion arises; from delusion memory and mindfulness wander away; from mindfulness wandering, there is destruction of the intelligence (buddhi) from destruction of the intelligence, one is lost.’ 2.62-2.63 Bhagavad Gita

This next term I am going to keep up with this mediation daily from 5-20 minutes and see what happens. I have been caught in an unhelpful loop with my daughter (also a fiery redhead) where we both just react to each other and it escalates and we have an argument. I don’t like it one bit and I want it to change. So this is my motivation – a peaceful home! I’ll let you know how I go.

I am also embracing festival season and going to lots of shows with family and friends. There is so much going on and I want to enjoy the creativity, socialise and be inspired. Maybe I will see you there!

Let’s be like water. Join me for Term 3 : the Water element. 



Free guide: Breathwork for Busy people

Join the list and get instant access to our guide : Breathwork for Busy people and learn more about how Pranayama works to calm and invigorate.