Water – Flow effortlessly: Know where you are going.
Water always has one clear goal which is pursues with commitment and determination: to flow effortlessly, changing shape constantly, and moving, always towards finding the lowest point, in any landscape. Once there, water can become still – so still that you can see your reflection in it – like a mirror. On the path to the lowest point, water runs into many different directions, gathering bits and pieces to take on its journey with it. Likewise in our bodies, water transports information and nutrients, via our blood and circulatory system. We can see this in a symbolic sense as the water element representing the sense we make of knowledge and experience gained on the multiple avenues our life journey can take us on. We carry this information and knowledge with us, and can choose what we hold on to and what we discard, how and where we use these experiences. The point being that the knowledge and experience has been gathered – it is there for us to love or leave at our own peril.
Then eventually water actually reaches the lowest point. This symbolises “getting to the bottom of things” or the establishing the truth – our own true, our true potential, and our honest feelings. Being at this lowest point water illustrates that in stillness we have the ability and clarity to reflect. If we can quiet our physical body and above all our mind – we can learn and gain a whole lot! We have acquired all the information, knowledge, wisdom and experience along the path to get us where we are now….now we need to trust that we can use that properly and truly ascertain – where am I going?
The organs in our bodies that we associate with the water element are the kidneys and the urinary bladder. Water energy meridians run up from our feet through the inside and back of our legs, and up the torso to the clavicles in the front body and all the way up our back, the back of our heads and over towards the inner eyebrow. Water imbalances manifest with issues in our urinary bladder and kidney. It is also common to experience injuries on these energy lines or meridians such as tight hamstrings, back pain, neck pain and headaches. Common physical conditions associated with water imbalances are central nervous system issues such as stress, insomnia, fertility issues, menopause, sciatica, scoliosis, and all other spinal related issues due to the location of the urinary bladder meridian running up the spinal cord.
An out of balance water element, and corresponding physical dis-ease aims to draw our attention to the way in which we live our truth – or not. Are your water imbalance symptoms your body’s way of telling you that you have created a life on the basis of what you ‘think’ you ought to be and your true self has gotten lost in the ‘show’. Having to uphold a façade – regardless of how subtly we do so may lead to us either being very controlling of people and circumstances – all out of the ultimate fear of being exposed as a fraud, OR becoming very withdrawn, apprehensive and easily guided because really we have no idea where we should be going ourselves. When we have a water imbalance, we have low self-esteem born out of a lack of trust in ourselves. How can you trust yourself when you haven’t connected with your own truth? What/who exactly would you be trusting if you haven’t yet taken the time to connect with your true feelings and you don’t know your true potential.
A balanced water element means the teachings of water as mentioned above are seeping in – we become adaptable and more accepting of the truth in others and how it manifests itself. We have an openness to learn in a philosophical way as we follow the path of knowledge. We are less controlling of outcomes because we see the opportunity to learn and grow in everything – we find it easier to ‘go with the flow’ and appreciate the journey as much as the destination. We are able to be still, reflect, find our own truth, be connected to our feelings and grow in knowledge about our true potential and ourselves in general.
We have all seen and experienced water imbalances in ourselves and in the people around us. Living a life out of fear has devastating effects on your relationships, your career, and your general quality of life so let’s look at ways of balancing water pronto!
A Yoga practice aimed at balancing water will have a general aim of flowing and doing so with equanimity, effortlessness and ease. Fluidity in movement is extremely important when balancing water. Yoga postures aimed at stimulating the urinary bladder, kidneys and both organs’ energy meridians involve:
· Backbends – baby and big back bends are all stimulating to the kidneys and water meridians
· Forward folds – both standing and seated forward folds
· Kidney Squeezes – baby cobra (Bhujangasana) and variations
· Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)
· Plough (Halasana)
Yoga postures challenging our balancing capacity also helps to balance water so have fun with:
· Tree (Vrksasana)
· Dancer Pose
· Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
· Standing Hand to big toe (Padanghustasana)
· Warrior 3 (Virabhidrasana 3)
Note: always remember to warm up your spine properly before undertaking a strong backbend practice and alternate backbends and forward bends to keep balance in the spine.
Lifestyle and Eating Habits
Foods that balance water tend to have a salty taste to store food and energy deep into the body. We recommend rock salt or sea salt as opposed to processed salts such as table salt or salt found in processed foods.
In balancing water you want to be eating foods that promote kidney functioning and you want to be hydrated – always! Consider including barley, quinoa, tofu, black beans, soya beans, mung beans, kidney beans, seaweed, spirulina, sesame seeds, soy sauce miso and pickles in your diet. Spices like cloves, fenugreek seeds, anise seeds, black pepper, dried ginger, and cinnamon are great to include and enjoy lots of walnuts, onions, leeks and chives.
To connect to the water element in your body, undertake activities involving water such as swimming, enjoying hot thermal baths or seeking out hot springs. Try guided meditations on water and its qualities and seek out opportunities for stillness and reflection. And if all else fails – just make sure you stay hydrated!
Try to find ways in your life and practice to find your water, find yourself, and find where you are going.