5 Elements Breathing
5 Elements Breathing is a foundational breathwork practice that you can use for relaxing, balancing, and evolving.
It consists of 5 separate styles of breathing in one consciously connected rhythm.
With consistent practice the breath form will take root in your body and mind, creating a tool you can access and utilize at any time.
Let me first explore the nature of the technique, followed by a full explanation of how to perform it.
There are 5 elements that make up our cosmos: earth, water, fire, wind, and ether. Through the countless interactions of the 5 elements all of creation dances. All life, including every animal, and tree, as well as your body are an interaction of the 5 elements.
These elements can be thought of as the composite components of your organism, for example, your bones are earth, your blood is water, fire is your digestive and metabolic processes, and wind is your breath. They are also the qualities of your mind, a stable mind, a creative and flowing mind, a fiery and passionate mind, a light mind of ideas, and a spiritual mind. Thus, each of the 5 breathing styles will create a certain quality of mind within you. 5 Elements Breathing can thus be used to cultivate specific states of mind…for example, looking for a stable and calmness in your mind? Try Earth Breathing. Are you looking to clear and let go? Try Water Breath, etc. Further, By breathing all the 5 elements will help to balance these elemental natures within you, offering you insights into how you may have come off balance, and giving you a tool to come back to your center.
I’m going to encourage you consciously connect your in and out breath as you try the breathing. This breathing can be done with pauses before and/or after in the inhale or exhale. I am choosing to invite in a conscious rhythm where your inhale meets your exhale without any pause for it gives a quality of flow and allows for an easeful and effortless breath to develop within a short period. Our breath is the source of life coming into the body, and when we consciously and continuously breath in and out we become aware of the flow of life. Through staying in connection with the flow of life there is an ease and bliss that can arise, an effortless being in the moment, without the effortful quality of doing. It can be a practice to get there, but it can and often happens quite quickly, especially with proper guidance.
I will explain the technique twice. One in more detail with notes, then a simplified version.
5 Elements Breathing:
- Choose a body position (sit, lie, or stand)
- Begin to consciously connect your inhale to meet your exhale while breathing in and out through your nose….paying attention to the gap between inhale and exhale and eliminating any pause.
- Stay conscious of the breath, even if there is distraction, come back to consciously breathing.
- Allow your exhales to have some force, paired with a contraction of the pelvic floor, abdomen, and throat constriction. The exhalation has a downward thrusting energy. Whereas the inhalation is much more passive. There will develop a reflexive action as the inhale effortlessly begins to climb up the body. Thus far, we are consciously connecting the breath with some degree of effort on the exhale, and a passive inhale. (note, this can be done in reverse, effortful inhale and passive exhale, or effort on inhale and exhale, or no effort at all on either – all will create different breath forms). Allow the breath to move up and down the body in a circular way.
- Breathing in and out through the nose is the earth element. It creates a stable mind and balance in the body.
- Next, we move onto the element water, continue to consciously connect the breath and breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. Stay consistent by breathing out with effort or control, and allowing for a passive inhale to rise up your body from belly, heart, and into the head. The breath will often begin to build in volume at this point. The quality of the water element is one of letting go and releasing.
- Next, we move into the realm of fire by inhaling through the mouth and exhaling through the nose. In this breath form the breath builds and you may find it easier to draw the inhalation up the body. The exhales here have an opportunity to elongate and you will have better control of the breath and your life force. The quality of fire breathing is to build heat and energy.
- Continuing to breath in a connected manner, move to breathing in and out through an open mouth. Breath in effortlessly from belly, heart, then head, then allowing the breath to come back down and around to complete a circle. Wind breathing create an effortless quality of being.
- Then finally we come back to breathing in and out through the nose. Connecting to the subtle element of ether. Unlike with earth element, ether is subtle, and so it is encouraged to breath effortlessly and while taking in as little breath as possible. You’ll notice an increased capacity to breath with ease, and even to bring the ‘breath’ or prana into your whole body, instead of breathing into the lungs.
- This completes one round.
- Do at least 5 breaths in each elements to balance. Though feel free to explore breathing for longer, sometimes I’ll breath for minutes, or conversely, I’ll do a 1 or 2 hour breath sessions wherein I’m continually cycling through the different elemental breath forms for variable times.
- It can be effective to breath effortfully and with movement and muscular contraction for a round or two, then to activate an effortless breathing style wherein the body is still and it is just the breath moving through.
- Breathing techniques are simple in nature. The effects and mastery of them depends on many factors, and good in-person guidance from a trained facilitator is the best way to learn and advance your skill.
- Variables to play with include speed, volume, body movements, and breath holds.
- The 5 elements relate to the chakras in this way: earth – 1st chakra; water – 2nd chakra; fire – 3rd chakra; wind – 4th chakra; ether 5-7 chakras. See if you can feel and feel how the different breath forms create a different clearing on energy and activation through the various chakra locations. 5 elements breathing will create balance and harmony of the energy flow in the 7 chakras.
Short Breakdown of technique
- Consciously connect the in and out breath with no pause or gap. Keep the awareness and attention on the breath and body at all times – keep the breath within the body, like you are a container, and you are circulating energy around your body in a circle.
- Earth element: Breath in and out through your nose – (minimum 5 breath)
- Water element: Breath in through nose, out through mouth – – (minimum 5 breath)
- Fire element: Breath in in through mouth, out through nose – (minimum 5 breath)
- Wind element: Breath in and out through mouth – – (minimum 5 breath)
- Ether element: Breath subtly and shallow in and out through the nose – – (minimum 5 breath)
- End of round one.
For best effects complete 3-5 rounds.
Feel free to use this breath frequently through the day to create a good and clear breath pattern at any point. Also try exploring it in a yoga posture to deepen your practice. Breath energy is life energy, learning these simple techniques is a simple way to gain better mastery of your life. As with any teaching that is transmitted over the internet and through text, there are limitations in sharing in this way. To properly learn the technique and the may variations to deepen it, visit my website and book a 1-on-1 and become a breath master.
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