Adorn your sacred space or yoga altar with these 5 elements to enhance your yoga practice…
As your yoga practice evolves, you may find yourself creating certain rituals that help you deepen and engage with your practice more easily. For example, you may find that you always set up your yoga mat facing in a certain direction, or that you like to dim the lights to a certain level before beginning your practice.
Once these habits are established, they can make getting into “yoga mode” faster and easier. By repeating the same series of steps when taking your place on your mat, you may find that you are tuning inward immediately as soon as you sit down, or that your mind immediately begins to repeat a familiar mantra when you get into your meditative position.
Some yogis create small “altars” in their yoga space that include items that help them to ground and center themselves in the moment, or focus their intentions on a particular goal for the day’s practice. The items may be as simple as some candles, polished stones or dried flowers, or personal items such as photos or mementos of a loved one.
A traditional yoga altar or sacred space would also include representations of the five elements which make up the world around us as well as our own internal energies. (Yes, yoga recognizes 5 elements, not 4.)
Here are a few facts about the 5 elements, and some ideas for using them to create your own sacred space for your yoga practice, according to YogaGlo.com:
Grounding, centering, and calming, the earth element is associated with the root chakra and can be represented by a flower, plant, or crystal of some kind.
The water element encourages resilience, non-attachment, and empathy, and is connected with the sacral chakra. It is traditionally represented by a vase or bowl of water, but you might also consider using a simple essential oil or rosewater mist.
Kindle your confidence, creativity, and drive with the fire element, which resides in the solar plexus chakra. You might light a candle or represent it symbolically with the “flameless” variety if you can’t have an open flame. Since fire is also used for purification, many yogic practices involve its invocation.
The air element lives in the heart chakra and brings clear communication, self-expression, and curiosity. You may find this surprising, but when incense is burned on an altar, it’s not actually for the smell. Instead, the smoke provides a visual reminder of the presence of this more subtle element.
Yoga’s fifth element doesn’t have a good translation, but we call it space, ether, or “Akash.” The container for all the other elements, space is the source of stillness, freedom, wisdom, and potential. Because it’s perceived through sound, on a classic yoga altar it’s represented by a bell. That’s why this element lives in the throat chakra, which includes both the throat that makes sound and the ears that receive it.