Yoga and the Five Elements

Yoga and the Five Elements

 by Nicole Goott /

Spiritual Wisdom for Everyday Living

To be grounded is for consciousness to be embodied in both its material and spiritual dimensions, with equal weight and balance given to both. It’s a loss of connection to some aspect of this embodiment that diminishes the flow of life force. So, how do we reconnect and return to a state of grounded balance?

Naturally, most people think of themselves as the container of their physical bodies. We may think of the skin as the outermost edge, holding together the complex structure of the various tissues and processes of the human body and experience. However, if we think of ourselves as multidimensional beings, going beyond the physical body, we see a subtle energy field providing a container — a subtle body, for the non-material aspects of being. The subtle energy body is made up of multiple layers which decrease in density the more subtle they become. Each layer of subtle energy is related to one of the five macrocosmic elements of Nature: earth, water, air, fire, and space. As vehicles for exploring the inner dimensions of life, each subtle body provides a handrail of support in remembering who we truly are.

When we align with the true Self, energy flows freely, and the experience of joy, fulfillment, and harmony is a natural outcome.

Feeling ungrounded, which can include feelings of stuckness or general dissatisfaction, indicates we’ve lost our connection with the true Self and the free flow of vital life force. Through the five elements (yoga and the five elements), we can identify which subtle layers and corresponding element is out of balance and restore wholeness and harmony through various practices such as a grounding meditation.

Grounding is the practice of restoring the connection between the free-flowing, abundant life force of the true Self and the physical body. Recognizing and connecting with the element of earth represents the material qualities of stability and support. Give the following grounding practice a try. The practice reminds us of our connection to important qualities and energies available to us for daily support, optimal balance, and vitality and wellbeing.

Earth element practice – Grounding meditation

Come into a comfortable standing, sitting, or lying down position.

  • Rest the arms loosely along the sides of the body.
  • Position the head in a relatively neutral and open position.
  • Imagine the feet sinking into the ground as if making an indentation. Feel as though this creates a sensation of stabilizing your position, like roots anchoring a tree in its place.
  • Close your eyes, bring your focus inward.
  • Feel that both feet hold the weight of the body equally.
  • Inhale, drawing up from the earth the energies of growth, vitality, and stability.
  • Exhale, radiate these energies upward and outward throughout the whole physical and subtle energy body, the boundary just a few inches from the skin’s surface.
  • Visualize these qualities of energy with the color green, a symbol of the earth element.
  • Closing the practice, hold a feeling of deep gratitude in the heart and the mind.
  • Slowly open the eyes.

About the author

Nicole Goott is the author of her forthcoming book, Yoga and the Five Elements: Spiritual Wisdom for Everyday Living. This exercise, adapted from her book, is available as an audio recording on her website:

Yoga and the Five Elements by Nicole Goott is available from and from wherever books are sold.