Everything to Know About Yoga and the Five Elements of Nature

Here’s what you need to know to honor the elements, and connect to the healing power of earth, water, fire, air, and ether in your yoga practice.


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Go Higher with Lalah Delia

Lalah Delia is sitting across from me, emitting a rarely achieved level of zen, eating vegan banh mi tacos and explaining the concept of Dark Night of the Soul. It’s a crossroads of sorts, she says, an event or time period that jump-starts intense transformation. The dark before the dawn. She’s had many in her 46 years—the sudden death of her mother, her own suicide attempt—but the one we’re discussing right now, an emergency hospitalization for an intestinal infection that ruptured her colon in 2001, is the one that eventually led her to this outdoor picnic table in Denver, talking to me. It’s the traumatic event that she can point to when she looks back at her life and definitively say it put her on the path to becoming who she is today: a spiritual teacher, wellness educator, author of the self-empowerment book Vibrate Higher Daily, and a living embodiment of gratitude, mindfulness, poise, and equilibrium. 

Photo: Brien Hollowell

For Delia, “vibrate higher” isn’t just a catchy mantra—it’s an all-day meditation and way of being that she lives by. When she says “high vibe,” she means nourishing to the mind, body, and soul. So everything from the foods she eats to her thoughts and reactions are carefully chosen with her overall well-being in mind. She also believes in the law of vibration, which says that everything that exists is made up of energy, vibrating at certain frequencies and naturally attracting events, experiences, and people emitting similar wavelengths. 

Watch 108-Second Interview with Lalah Delia

Delia credits learning about the law of attraction and reading Joseph Murphy’s The Power of Your Subconscious Mind with helping her work with thoughts and intentions to bring about positive change in her life. She calls it practical metaphysics. To tap into it, she says, you start with awareness. Notice which belief systems you have on autopilot from the minute you wake up: I have to get up; I have to rush; I have to be mad at people in traffic; I have to have an attitude if I’m standing in line. “Vibrating higher is adopting a new way of thinking that says, I have a right to choose a different reaction,” she says.

The Science of Thought

It might sound a bit woo-woo, but a growing body of scientific research has shown that our thoughts and intentions have a direct effect on not just our own physiology and psychology but the health, behavior, and appearance of other living and nonliving things as well. Studies have confirmed time and again that the human mind can affect everything from the way plants grow to how quickly we heal. Dean Radin, PhD, is the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and an associated distinguished professor of integral and transpersonal psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He has dedicated his career to understanding the effect of human consciousness on the physical world. “Does your intention and will change the world? Yeah, it does,” he says. But it can’t make a new car drop out of the sky. “You can’t manifest a gold-plated Mercedes out of nothing. It’s more likely that you’ll get an atom of gold and not even know it.” To that end, a study Radin co-authored in the Journal of Science and Healing in June 2020 found that when seeds from the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana were grown with water that Buddhist monks had imbued with the intention to improve plant growth, the sprouts grew with thicker stems and greater amounts of chlorophyll than the controls—proving, some argue, that our thoughts have a much greater effect on the world around us than we’re traditionally taught to believe. “We don’t have to hold onto old, outdated programming,” says Delia, “that we are just physical beings here to simply go through life however it comes to us, and we have no power.”

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