Air - it's everywhere isn't it? It is all around us, it's inside us, without it we couldn't survive. All animals breathe air, the plants breathe air, even the fungi and bacteria need it to live. But how often do we think about this element as a healing ally? Like Water, we may tend to take Air for granted, but it is wise to stop for a while and think about this life giving element and the myriad contributions it makes to our well being.
If we perform any of the many breath practices available to us through meditation and some of the Eastern disciplines, we become more aware of the role that Breath and Air play in our lives and our health. Breath regulation can be used to calm us, to exercise our lungs, to lower our heart rate and blood pressure and can be used as an induction method to altered states of consciousness. Through intense concentration, Breath can be moved to areas of our bodies that are under stress or feeling dis-ease, focusing healing.
Air has the ability to cleanse. Opening windows on a pleasant day can refresh our homes, bringing purifying air to an otherwise stuffy and unhealthy environment. Bringing the fresh air of nature into our abodes is one of the best ways to rejuvenate them.
The Wind, sister of Air, circulates air throughout the environment, cleaning fall leaves off trees, cleansing the air, bringing life giving rain by carrying clouds our way. Stand outside on a breezy day, feel the air caress your skin. The wind carries our weather on the trade winds and the westerlies. Watch the sky during an approaching storm. See the clouds ride the wind, tumbling and reforming into fantastic shapes.
Air changes density with temperature. Watch birds of prey as they circle lazily ever higher on the currents created by rising heat. Feel the invigorating chill of Air as Winter's icy breath cools it. Watch as water droplets combined with cooled air form a soft blanket of enveloping fog.
Air is as changeable as the weather, malleable to the other elements that influence it. Feel how it excites at the approach of an electrical storm, how it calms, soothes and relaxes in the presence of the gentle rays of the sun on a warm Spring day, how it crisps in the presence of frost.
Spend some time getting to know the Air around you, watch its moods and responses to the environment. Have you ever noticed when someone says, "There is something different in the air?" Air has the ability to absorb and transmit the energy of emotions. Pay attention when something in the air feels unusual. Air is trying to tell you something. Air as an ally is ever-present, all pervasive, always available, always accessible.