Let’s start with the earth element. The earth element is connected to your sense of smell. To bring balance to the earth energy within our body we can utilize the practice of aromatherapy.
Scents impact stress levels, breathing, heart-rate, emotions, memories, and so much more! They ground you in the present moment and connect you to the physical realm. Just as everything has an opportunity to bring balance or imbalance - scents are either soothing or stimulating.
A great way to adjust the scents around you is through essential oils. This can be through baths, diffusers, spritzers, or maybe even your abhyanga oil! These tools are perfect for enhancing or switching up the vibe of any scenario.
Pay attention to your environment and your mood, then use your sense of smell to shift the atmosphere. If you are studying or working and need to focus, you can incorporate uplifting and cooling scents such as peppermint and pine. If you want a little boost before a social gathering, uplifting scents such as lemongrass and bergamot are perfect! If you need to calm your mind and ground your body, warming and grounding scents such as clove and lavender are great. We have a line of ritual mists that incorporate these scents and are designated to each dosha, mental state, or season.
Each scent has its own benefit and purpose; explore which scents draw your attention and which can bring balance to your needs. Incorporate this therapy with meditation or randomly throughout the day, depending on your intentions and needs.
The water element is associated with our sense of taste and is connected to our mouth. We can bring balance to this elemental energy by incorporating herbal teas into our daily lives.
Two of our favorite ways to enjoy teas are through sun and moon infusions!
The standard ratio is to place 1 oz of herb into a jar with 32 oz of water. You may also use the folk method of intuition without measuring.
Making sun tea is a lovely way to infuse your herbal beverage with the warmth of the sun while not having the water be completely hot. Think about the energetics of the sun as an addition to the vibration: warm, passionate, embodied, driven, focused, active & alive with radiance! Your sun tea may be infused in a beautifully lit window or out in the direct sunlight. Strain and enjoy your magical concoction!
Moon tea infuses the magical essence of the bright night sky into your herbal beverage. The moon’s energy enhances etheric and mystical qualities. The moon infused to your tea may offer you insight, guided intuition, creativity, sensuality, deep reflection, messages from the dream realm and a connection to your feminine qualities. Pair this intention with that of the specific moon phase you are in: full, waning, new, waxing and the current astrological sign. Your moon tea may be infused in a window sill, on a balcony, on the steps or out in the direct moonlight.
We have our own line of Ayurvedic Ritual Teas, based on your dosha, the season, or your mental state. You can check it out here!
The fire element is associated with our sense of sight. To bring balance to this elemental energy we can incorporate color therapy.
Colors create a significant impact on your mental and emotional state. What are the main colors you surround yourself with? Do you have light and airy colors, or dark and deep colors? Do you have bold colors, or pastel colors? This can be both a reflection of your most dominant state of mind, as well as make a big impact on your state of mind.
Colors that are more subtle and pastel-like carry more sattvic properties, because their effect on the mind is more soothing. Bold colors are more rajasic because of their stimulating qualities, and dark colors are more tamasic because of the way they pull you out of the light.
Generally, colors closer to red on the spectrum are considered warming and stimulating; colors on the blue end of the spectrum are considered cooling. You can look to nature for guidance on a color's properties: find expansiveness in the color blue represented in the sky, grounding in dark green and brown represented in the earth, warmth and stimulation represented in the colors of the sun and fire element.
Colors are a quick trick to changing one’s mood. This could be reflected through your wardrobe, accessories, art, housing decor, surroundings, whatever. Do you need more uplifting colors, or more grounding ones? If you’re feeling low energy and want a boost – throw on a bright red article of clothing. If you are feeling anxious, you can feel more rooted in neutral colors like brown or gold.
Another way to bring balance through our sense of sight is through the practice of trataka.
Trataka is the practice of intentional gazing to cultivate energy and focus. One form of trataka is to stare at the sun or a candle for an extended period. To sun gaze, start by looking at the sun (during no later than an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset) or a candle (you’ll want to give some distance, and a ghee candle is ideal for its energetic properties, but it's not really necessary).
Gaze at the sun or flame for as long as you can until your eyes start to strain, then close your eyes and focus on the residual image (imagine it in the space between your eyebrows) until the image begins to fade.
Typically you can start with 2-3 minutes at first, and eventually increase to 5-10 minutes. This practice has many benefits: it increases masculine qualities, energy, concentration, memory, purpose, drive, discernment, and clarity; along with strengthening eye muscles, improving vision and boosting immunity.
If the fire element within you is already very strong, it may show up as irritability, hyper-focused, or tense, you could try trataka in a softer form by gazing at the moon - which increases the water element within you. To moon gaze, you can do the same process described for sun gazing. Moon gazing increases feminine qualities, softness, reflection, compassion, love, creativity, and devotion; along with soothing insomnia and promoting relaxation. This is my personal favorite.
The air element is associated with our sense of touch. To bring balance to this elemental energy we can incorporate right touch.
Touch plays an important role in our well-being. Notice how much physical contact you have within your relationships, and what emotions are behind it. It’s common in the West to greet someone with a handshake, and our culture doesn’t particularly promote intimate physical contact.
Hugging someone for twenty seconds releases oxytocin – the natural feel-good chemical! Hugging someone for ten seconds a day releases overall stress and feelings of loneliness. Find a cuddle buddy or ask your friend/family member for an extra hug!
Notice if you enjoy hugging and being affectionate with others, or if you are naturally hesitant to touch. I personally love touching, it always came naturally to me. But I have friends and family members who aren’t particularly fond of it. If you’re hesitant to touch, you can practice feeling safe with your friends and family. A good way to begin may be placing your hand on someone’s shoulder while in conversation, or asking your best friend to play with your hair. It doesn’t have to be big, long hugs, any touch is better than none!
It might also be new for you to explore this type of intimacy which doesn’t necessarily involve sexual energy. Sometimes we rely mainly on a romantic partner to provide us with the touch we need, but if they go out of town or the relationship ends, we’re left feeling the intense withdrawal from this need not being met.
Make it a priority to explore touch more often. And appreciate yourself for beginning to explore intimacy beyond the obvious. As you dive deeper into this exploration, you are opening up towards being a vessel of love and genuine energy.
The Ether element is associated with our sense of hearing. We can bring balance to this elemental energy through sound healing.
The sounds around us play a prominent role in our environment. Every cell, atom and electron in the body is affected by vibration. Shamanic Sound Baths have been used since ancient times as sound therapy to rebalance and recharge the body, mind and spirit. In a revitalizing sound bath, one also accesses the ability to shed old patterns, beliefs and addictions. While you can find recordings of sound healing online, there is something extra powerful when the vibrations can physically seep into your energy field.
Not only are sound baths healing, but simply the music you listen to can be healing (or can lead to imbalance!). Instead of mindlessly putting music on, check in with yourself first. Are you feeling dull and lethargic? Play something upbeat! Are you feeling anxious and stressed? Play soothing instrumentals. Incorporating opposite qualities helps bring balance to the mind.
If you are living in a noisy city, choose music that includes the natural sounds of nature. Nature sounds are proven to help soothe the nervous system, release stress, and improve mood.
You may notice that you unconsciously fill a void with constant music, podcasts, or other sounds. If that's the case, try to cut back on what you intake through your sense of hearing and embrace the silence instead. So often I find myself wanting more stimulation, more sensory input, when what I truly need is quiet stillness. Notice what thoughts or emotions arise from the stillness and connect with them instead of pushing them away. Our bodies and minds need time to reset from all of the stimulation around us, so allowing a break from our sense of hearing is necessary.