There is a pattern developing in my yoga classes and it centers in the place of the lungs and heart. In the practice of EMYoga (energy medicine yoga), which was created by Lauren Walker based upon the work of Donna Eden, the body is viewed through the lens of the five elements of ancient Chinese medicine. The elements, which correspond with the seasons, can be viewed as a circle, but also a star. I like the symbolism of both. The star within the wheel.
Arising out of the element of water, where life is birthed into being, the energy body (for this post’s purpose, the term energy body includes the entire body: physical, emotional and spiritual) is encouraged to move out of the stagnation of fear into the courage of potential. In the watery world of potential, everything is possible as creation stirs into being.
Winter’s hidden growth emerges in the springtime, the element of wood, breaking ground in the cycle of rebirth. The energy body can become restless in the element of wood. Angry, even, when growth is not happening fast enough, or not in the way the mind wants it to. Here, the sometimes frenetic energy of springtime can be tempered, like all energy, through the compassion of the heart. Aggression then becomes assertive action as the energy body learns to harness the force of spring for positive action.
Spring weaves into the energy of summer, where the heat of the sun burns the fires of creation. Too much fire leads to anxiety, as the energy body seeks to dance and move itself in a thousand different ways. An excess of fire leads to burn-out, and so the flames seek also the tempering of the heart of reason and compassion, moving the creative force into the energy of inspiration.
As summer wanes, the energy body begins to turn inward to the self, seeking reunion with the inner child who represents the true, joy-filled self. It is the time of transition, where the outer begins to move inward again. The element is Earth, residing in the in-between times of the equinox and solstices. Those with an abundance of Earth energy tend to neglect their inner child in favor of excessive giving to others (summer solstice), depleting the self of sunshine (winter solstice). The energy body seeks balance (equinoxes), urging the turning inward to reconnect with and tend to the inner flame. It’s not always easy to do for those who tend to reside within the element of Earth.
It takes trust, and letting go, and so we move into the final element on the wheel, and the last point on the five-pointed star, which resides in the “season” of autumn. In the northern hemisphere we are in the middle of fall, so it is fitting that my classes seem to keep finding their way to this seasonal elemental focus. Due to the pandemic, though, loss has become universally poignant. Grief feels like a cloud surrounding us, and for some of us it is deeply infused into our energy bodies.
So how do we let go into faith and trust? How do we allow the wheel to keep turning to move back into the season of winter and the phase of infinite potential to bring forth new life? It is perhaps the biggest act of faith we can partake in. Surrendering to the unknown, and trusting in an inherent, yet often elusive-feeling of universal love that supports and surrounds us all, is no easy feat for someone who is immersed in the energy of grief. We, as humans, learn to cling to the tangible as we become accustomed to life in the body. We look for safety and security from the touch of others and the comforts of physical objects. When we lose these things, we often linger on the empty feeling of lose and our sense of security becomes threatened. The ancient Chinese medicine element associated with the season of fall is metal. In Tarot, the element is air, but it is often depicted through the metal symbol of the sword as a representation of this very mentally focused season/element.
It takes mental fortitude and a mighty hand to form the sword, as well as to make the choice to use it of to lay it down in surrender. There are two forms of surrender. Defeat and trust. With trust, as we see in the Ace of Swords, the mental energy of the metal/air element gives way its hold to a higher power. Piercing the crown that sits atop the head, it breaks open the energy of the 7th chakra/ or crown chakra, to open to the wisdom of the divine. It is the ultimate surrender of faith. The mind relinquishes its hold on control and trusts that there is a universal plan that arises from the energy of love. A challenge when one suffers profound loss, yet this trust comes with a knowing that death is a natural part of the cycle of life and this season of loss will move, once again, into the infinite potential of creation.