The Qualities of Earth
When we explore the element of earth we can begin to connect with its qualities. Earth is stable and solid. It provides a firm foundation from which we can build and extend in life. Earth is all matter around us. The ground itself, our homes our furniture our food our bodies. Earth provides structure, stability, safety and support.
We can connect to the Earth element through the bones, ligaments and soft tissues which give the body structure. The skin which is the container of the body and the dense matter through which the other elements can flow. In the lower part of the body, the feet, legs, hips and pelvis we are most often connected to the earth. When we sit, we sit on our pelvis and when we stand, we bring the strength and stability of earth up through the feet and legs to the pelvis and spine in order to stand upright. Our Asana (physical) practice works the physical body by moving through the joints and soft tissues of the body in order to unravel physical tensions and allow the other elements to flow and nourish us.
Working with the body is a great way to alter our state of mind. The benefits of a physical practice can help us to feel connected or grounded. When ‘our feet are on the ground’ and we feel safe we can quickly alleviate anxiety, which can help to unravel physical tension. Physical practice can cultivate a sense of embodiment, moving within out physical limitations. When our minds are fixed, we sometimes find it hard to see another perspective, but movement can help to ease a stuck mindset in just the same way as it can ease physical tension.
Affirmations can be a useful way to awaken the energetic qualities of Earth:
‘I am grounded’ or’ I am working towards being more grounded every day’ or ‘I’m now ready to welcome the feeling of being grounded into my experience’
‘I am safe’ or ‘I am working towards feeling safer than I do right now’ or ‘I am ready to embrace feelings of safety’ or ‘I am open to the experience of feeling truly safe’.
‘I am supported’ or ‘I am beginning to notice where I need support’. Or ‘I am working towards asking for support when I need it’
‘I am secure’ or ‘I am working on feeling more secure every day’
You can work with affirmations in various ways, what’s important is that the affirmation feels true and that can take time. It can take some negotiation with ourselves to find the words that feel true. Start with something small if necessary, something that is already true for you and easily accessible, rather than expecting a universal affirmation to feel comfortable immediately.
Try one of these exercises:
- Choose an affirmation and write it out 10 times in a diary or notebook.
- Look yourself in the eye, in the mirror and say the affirmation out loud 10 times
- Silently repeat the affirmation 10 times before you go to sleep, or 10 times as soon as you wake up.
Notice any objections that come up and address those separately. Address the objections with compassion, for example ‘I know you don’t always feel safe, but could you be willing to give safety a try?’ or ‘I know you feel insecure, but I’m now open to inviting a deeper sense of security into my life, will you come with me?’
- Walking bare foot on the Earth or ‘Earthing’ can be beneficial for a feeling of ‘reconnecting’ or ‘recharging’ as though the body conducts the energy of the earth through the skin of the feet. Engaging with how it feels can bring you in to the moment and help to alleviate ruminative thought or anxiety.
- Resonance Breathing (or extending the exhale) can bring the body out of stress response and back to grounded awareness. Practice breathing in slowly for a count of 4 and breathing out for a longer count of 6. Adjust the count to suit what feels comfortable to you, but always extend the exhale. You might find you take around 5 or 6 breaths a minute.
- Mindful awareness activity:
- Close the eyes and imagine a colour, name the colour, now open the eyes and look around you for all things that colour. The more we search the landscape around us the more we focus on what’s there right now. It’s possible not just to notice the colour, but tones of the colour through all that we see.
In Balance – The earth element helps us to feel safe and grounded. We feel confident and at home within our bodies. Our plans and actions come to fruition because they are rooted in a firm and stable foundation. Our ideas have fertile soil to germinate within. We know we are supported and can easily draw on support when needed.
Out of Balance – We might feel resistant to change and fixed in our mindset. Unable to see another point of view or move away from our own point of view or opinion being ‘the only right way’. We might feel anxious or like ‘our feet haven’t touched the ground’.