Frozen, liquid, hard, soft, slippery, slushy. Here in Southern Quebec, we’ve seen almost every permutation of water this past week (except perhaps steam and vapor).
Jala is the Sanskrit term for the water element. Even the word seems to slosh around in the mouth. It is the principle of fluidity, nourishment, and sensitivity.
The Tao te Ching Chapter 8 teaches:
The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all of creation
without trying to compete with it.
Cultivating the water element, we learn to be generous with ourselves. To adopt this stance is to be generous in giving yourself SPACE AND TIME to sit quietly. Just sit. Settle into yourself, connect inwardly.
Soften and yield to the current and flow of your life at this moment including the to-do lists, unfinished business, projects, family life, and schedules. The water element teaches us how to embrace it all with flexibility, and with sensitivity to respond to the needs of the moment. It melts the hard edges of our resistance. In this space inspiration can flow, the mind can wander into the territory of visions and dreams. All this deeply nourishes.
Like plants, we need water. Through the reflective practices of yoga, we receive the essential inner nourishment. They revive the dry, parched ground of the heart and forge the pathway of inner connectivity. The place where contentment rests like the calm surface of a lake and enthusiasm flows like a river.
Here’s a defrosting sequence to get some energy moving in the hips and pelvis, where the water element resides. Sun Salutations and standing poses build heat. Seated and supine hip openers thaw the tightness and constriction in the hips and pelvis. Practice deep Ujjayi breathing throughout to build a gentle heat from inside.
Sequence: Begin in Tabletop (all-4s) position
- Cat-Cow spinal warm-up moving with the breath
- High child’s pose – hips overs the knees, arms straight forward, then walk arms over to each side for a side-body stretch
- Child’s pose
- Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Surya Namaskar dynamically with the breath 3-5x
From Adho Mukha Svanasana:
- Prasarita Padottanasana
- Pigeon Prep forward bend
Seated Hip openers:
- Baddha Konasana
- Upa Vista Konasana
- Parsva Upa Vista Konasana
- Sukhasana forward bend
- Supta Padanagusthasana 1 and 4
- Eye of the needle
- Setu Bandhasana
- Jatara Parivartananasna with bent legs twist
- Knees to chest