Life Elements: Transform Your Life With Earth, Air, Fire, and Water

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This is partially because it fans the fire in our body-mind. It is also because air is prana, the life force. When it is made to circulate through the body and the other elements, it automatically purifies us. Teaching the proper use of breath during asana and incorporating Pranayama practice into our daily routine increases both our lightness and our inner power. Certain pranayama techniques can be used to identify where imbalances lie in the elements of the body, and to consciously rebalance these. One of the best ways of doing this is to learn the natural order of the elements in the body.

Earth and water are at the base, below the navel, fire is in the middle of the torso; air and space reside in the upper body. Maintaining awareness of this when we practice asana, pranayama and meditation aids the proper distribution of the energy into the elements. As the prana moves up and down in the body, we awaken certain parts of the body with consciousness and energy, coaxing the elements into balance. Learn the process.


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The practices of how to balance the 5 elements through pranayama is taught systematically on the double CD entitled "Introduction to Prana and Pranic Healing" , available from www. Knowledge of the five elements is the essential to higher yogic and tantric practices. Swami Shankardev is a yogacharya, medical doctor, psychotherapist, author, and lecturer.

He lived and studied with his guru, Swami Satyananda, for ten years in India He lectures all over the world. Contact him at www. Poses by Anatomy. Poses by Level. The Yoga for You. Types of Poses. Yoga Sequences. Yoga by Benefit. Yoga for Beginners.


  • The Five Elements Symbolism and Meaning.
  • Life Elements.
  • Purifying the Five Elements of Our Being.
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Intermediate Yoga. Advanced Yoga. Yoga History of Yoga. Types of Yoga. Yoga Basics. Yoga FAQs. Benefits of Meditation. Guided Meditation. How to Meditate.

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Science of Meditation. Water, Wind, Earth And Fire is brimming with encouragement to spend time in prayer and worship, practical suggestions for enhancing personal devotional times, and compelling "reflection" questions. Paintner introduces specific practices and concepts which some folks — like myself — may not be familiar with including Lectio Divina, St. Paintner also presents passage meditation, yoga, and "body prayer" as helpful exercises for spiritual growth. Remarkably, Paintner doesn't get too bogged down with the details of these practices, just offers them as potential resources and keeps moving right along.

I believe this approach enhanced the book's accessibility and will permit appreciation from a wide audience. The structure of Water, Wind, Earth And Fire is tight and consistent; it allows the reader to relax into the material and focus on the elements, prayer, and reflection. Paintner begins each chapter with an excerpt from the "Canticle of the Creatures" and a Celtic Prayer. She then introduces an element, shares quotes from Scripture and saints, and identifies the chapter's themes. For instance, "Brother Wind" isn't just a chapter about the vague characteristics of wind, but about wind "as life-breath, as inspiration, as directional force by allowing yourself to be carried where the wind blows, as powerful sacred presence in the midst of the whirlwind and storms of life, and as the current that lifts your wings in flight" Paintner's own reflections — which are just personal enough without too much self-disclosure — are bolstered by Scripture and quotes from poets, contemplatives and saints.

Paintner then offers reflection questions and practical ways to incorporate awareness of the element into prayer and devotional life. Every chapter ends with guidelines for Lectio Divina and a prayer, both of which felt like gifts to me. Even if I couldn't go for a walk in the woods or light a candle at my altar, I could allow the prayer to wash over me and bring me rest right in that moment.

I believe this book provides a good introduction to contemplative spiritual exercises and may very well be a catalyst for readers to dive deeper into Scripture, the full works of the writers Paintner highlights, and the sacred book of nature itself.

The 10 Most Important Yoga Poses for Beginners

That's my plan at least. Well, that and reading the book again in small portions. Spiritual director Christine Valters Paintner describes sitting on an Oregon coastal shore piled with sand and stones, watching the setting sun while gulls glide on a Pacific Ocean breeze. She writes, "Here in this place, wind, water, earth, and fire all meet in a glorious window onto the Divine extravagance" Encountering the four elements in one place is exactly what Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire does, inviting the reader to become a pray-er who enjoys Paintner's collection of scripture, poetry, wisdom, and prayer.

This is a book to take outdoors, where the reader can become fully embodied while planting one's feet firmly on the earth. The invitation is to taste water and to immerse oneself in it, to feel caressed by the wind, to lift one's face to the sun's warmth and light. Paintner teaches people to discover God's glory and to experience Sabbath rest while praising the Creator for the wonderful gifts God offers again and again. Paintner connects the elements of fire, earth, water, and wind to an annual season.

The cyclical transformation of the earth becomes an invitation for the soul's conversion. Paintner calls attention to new sensory perception through the words of both contemporary mystics and those of long ago whose truth seems eternal and can only be expressed through metaphor.

Contemplating the universe brings new awareness, deeper consciousness, and a greater respect for what God gives us to tend and care for. As Saint Francis would have us discover, the world becomes brother and sister to us. Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements is not a book to move through quickly but instead is one to savor, much like a person who seeks spiritual development grows closer to God by reading the universe and praying with it. The text calls forth a desire to linger with the "earth community" and its "mystery" 7 , to learn from them what God would speak to the individual.

With each of the elements, Paintner provides a lectio divina, suggesting a way to read, reflect, respond, and rest with God's word spoken in creation. Though Paintner's perspective is primarily Christian, she honors the Hebrew Scriptures along with other spiritual traditions when she unfolds the story of each element.

Reflection questions are provided to deepen conceptual understanding and suggest creative prayer practices to open the heart to possibility. She says, "This book is designed to be an accompaniment and guide for ongoing prayer and times of retreat" 7. Spiritual directors or spiritual directees who either love creation or are challenged by it can use this book to allow God to open a heart space in them. And for those times when God may seem to be distant, Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire offers a way to find God in the pregnant, tangible realities that surround us.

Frankly, I fully expected a defense for making room for nature and the elements in Christian practices at all. Coming from a conservative background, part of me just assumed Paintner would find a defense of such ideas necessary.

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And while her introduction includes some of this, Paintner doesn't waste much time. She quickly establishes praying the elements as a worthwhile Christian practice through Assisi's "Canticle of the Creatures," a quote from Merton declaring the elements to be "our spiritual directors" 2 , and her own bold declarations that "Christian tradition tells us that we have received two books of divine revelation: the book of scripture and the book of nature.

Creation itself is a sacred text. Paintner then transitions into the guided retreat part of her book. Water, Wind, Earth And Fire is brimming with encouragement to spend time in prayer and worship, practical suggestions for enhancing personal devotional times, and compelling "reflection" questions.

Classical element - Wikipedia

Paintner introduces specific practices and concepts which some folks — like myself — may not be familiar with including Lectio Divina, St. Paintner also presents passage meditation, yoga, and "body prayer" as helpful exercises for spiritual growth. Remarkably, Paintner doesn't get too bogged down with the details of these practices, just offers them as potential resources and keeps moving right along.

I believe this approach enhanced the book's accessibility and will permit appreciation from a wide audience. The structure of Water, Wind, Earth And Fire is tight and consistent; it allows the reader to relax into the material and focus on the elements, prayer, and reflection. Paintner begins each chapter with an excerpt from the "Canticle of the Creatures" and a Celtic Prayer. She then introduces an element, shares quotes from Scripture and saints, and identifies the chapter's themes. For instance, "Brother Wind" isn't just a chapter about the vague characteristics of wind, but about wind "as life-breath, as inspiration, as directional force by allowing yourself to be carried where the wind blows, as powerful sacred presence in the midst of the whirlwind and storms of life, and as the current that lifts your wings in flight" Paintner's own reflections — which are just personal enough without too much self-disclosure — are bolstered by Scripture and quotes from poets, contemplatives and saints.

Paintner then offers reflection questions and practical ways to incorporate awareness of the element into prayer and devotional life. Every chapter ends with guidelines for Lectio Divina and a prayer, both of which felt like gifts to me. Even if I couldn't go for a walk in the woods or light a candle at my altar, I could allow the prayer to wash over me and bring me rest right in that moment.

I believe this book provides a good introduction to contemplative spiritual exercises and may very well be a catalyst for readers to dive deeper into Scripture, the full works of the writers Paintner highlights, and the sacred book of nature itself. That's my plan at least.

Well, that and reading the book again in small portions. Spiritual director Christine Valters Paintner describes sitting on an Oregon coastal shore piled with sand and stones, watching the setting sun while gulls glide on a Pacific Ocean breeze. She writes, "Here in this place, wind, water, earth, and fire all meet in a glorious window onto the Divine extravagance" Encountering the four elements in one place is exactly what Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire does, inviting the reader to become a pray-er who enjoys Paintner's collection of scripture, poetry, wisdom, and prayer.

This is a book to take outdoors, where the reader can become fully embodied while planting one's feet firmly on the earth. The invitation is to taste water and to immerse oneself in it, to feel caressed by the wind, to lift one's face to the sun's warmth and light. Paintner teaches people to discover God's glory and to experience Sabbath rest while praising the Creator for the wonderful gifts God offers again and again.

Paintner connects the elements of fire, earth, water, and wind to an annual season. The cyclical transformation of the earth becomes an invitation for the soul's conversion. Paintner calls attention to new sensory perception through the words of both contemporary mystics and those of long ago whose truth seems eternal and can only be expressed through metaphor. Contemplating the universe brings new awareness, deeper consciousness, and a greater respect for what God gives us to tend and care for. As Saint Francis would have us discover, the world becomes brother and sister to us.

Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements is not a book to move through quickly but instead is one to savor, much like a person who seeks spiritual development grows closer to God by reading the universe and praying with it.

The Connection Between Nature's Five Elements and Yoga

The text calls forth a desire to linger with the "earth community" and its "mystery" 7 , to learn from them what God would speak to the individual.