Elemental Yoga: The Water Element

W A T E R. The seat of desire, and the transmutation of desire into dharma. The divine feminine. Receptive. Flowing. Adaptable. Strong.

Photo by Mark Kuroda

Water is one of the most powerful and versatile elements. It is completely receptive and flexible yet strong enough to wear down the hardest stone. It reminds us that there is strength in our softness, in our vulnerability, in being adaptable.

In the Elemental Yoga practice, water represents the more fluid, receptive, and feminine practices of laya movements and sacred rituals like puja.

Laya Movement

Laya movements are a lesser-known ancient Himalayan yoga practice of meditative movement. Some say they were an ancient practice that Bodhidharma brought from India into China, eventually becoming what we know as T’ai Chi Chuan. If you’ve practiced with me you’ve probably experienced the calming bliss of Blooming Lotus or Sufi Heart.

Laya translates roughly as “dissolution,” which is why they are an opportunity during a yoga sādhāna or sequence to enter silence, to find stillness in the dynamism. These fluid movements also help to balance the more masculine hatha flow with the divine feminine.

Sacred Rituals

Off the yoga mat, sacred rituals are an opportunity to enter a state of receptivity, surrender, and awe. By working with sacred forms, elements, and mantra on a daily basis, by replacing mindless habits with mindful rituals we begin to refine our state of consciousness. And we make space for grace and wonder to enter our lives. We start to dance with nature and loosen our grip on life a little. For many students of yoga, I know a daily ritual can be the element of the practice that presents the greatest resistance. It’s not rational. Our minds resist this gentle dropping into our hearts. But that’s why it’s so essential.


The Swadhisthana chakra, or sacral chakra, is the water chakra, the seat of our desire, desire to experience life, enjoy life, create, flow. It’s the portal through which nature desires through us. When the second chakra is balanced our desires become evolutionary, purposeful, dharmic.

Through the element of water, the practice of laya and puja, and a deep softening into our souls, we enter the flow of life in a state of intelligent surrender.

Chad teaches Elemental Yoga, a powerful, full-spectrum yoga practice combining hatha yoga, pranayama (breath work), kriya, mantra, and meditative movements. It draws from the Himalayan yoga traditions of India to help students ground and live more fully in the modern world while accessing greater states of natural bliss within. Chad’s public and private classes are holistic, dynamic, fun, and designed to encourage his students to unearth their highest selves, and to reach their greatest potential. Chad seeks to make his students’ experience of yoga one of connection, love, surrender, celebration, and compassion.

You can find Chad’s in his online yoga community Cosmic Collective, as well as contact him to work one-on-one locally or remotely, at his website or on Instagram.




Thoughts on Yoga, in the broadest sense of that term

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Chad Woodford

Chad Woodford

Yoga & meditation teacher, lawyer, writer. Tweeting @chd (law & tech policy) and @holotropicyoga. Yoga at elemental.yoga

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