I found it strange that in my yoga teacher training that there were two distinct elements: air and space. I thought they would have been the same element.
Based on the teaching in Ayurveda (Sanskrit for “science of life”), everything in nature is composed of five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. I have learned in my yoga training specific sequences for cultivating these elements in the body, mind and spirit. In August, we started with water and this past month ended with air and space.
I came to learn that space is quite different than air. Space is what is necessary for all the other elements to be cultivated, and without space, stress, anxiety, ignorance and other qualities that cloud our lives take root. Space is needed for wisdom and for all the qualities we want to embody through our lives to flourish.
In Buddism, there is a Sutra that reads, “space is emptiness and emptiness is space.” But emptiness here does not mean what we might typically think of – emptiness as nothing, but rather emptiness as everything, as the container for our lives. It is in this sense we can see space as the connecter of our being to the world. We can see space as the vessel for our emotions. We can see space as the means of all kinds of possibilities.
I have always dislike meditation because it requires a sitting in space, and sometimes my space feels clouded by nervous energy, toxic self degrading and checklists that only exist in my mind. These feelings and thoughts can feel frustrating, and I think we can all relate to this feeling of loss of space in our lives, in our minds, in our hearts as we look back at this past year.
Ive been trying to give myself more space. More space to let qualities of love, kindness, patience, and openness to flourish. More space to let these wonderful qualities stemming from the heart, and not the brain, to provide the pathway to new experiences and to my connection to the world.
2020 has been nothing like we could have ever expected. There is not a single person on this earth who’s life has not changed in some way. I am constantly grateful for the blessings that have been bestowed on my family and friends. We have been lucky and we should be thankful everyday for that, not just on thanksgiving.
So as we go towards the end of the year, which can feel heavy with emotions, thoughts and with lots of food (ha!), what can we do to create a bit more space for ourselves? Maybe its 10 minutes in the morning writing down what your grateful for. Maybe its lighting a candle in the morning and taking time to watch the flame. Maybe its saying a prayer before bed. Maybe its watching your favorite holiday movie.
I am working on giving more space for wisdom and for the qualities I want to grow to be able to flourish into each new day and into the coming year ahead.
Peace and many blessings to all.