This article on mindfulness exercises is based on the elemental forces of water, air, earth, and fire. You will explore these forces through many different mediums, and find the power of inspiration in them all. You will be creative, you will become relaxed, and most importantly, you will have fun!
No packing is required, so you are all set for your mental vacation through meditation and mindfulness. However, we do have some preparations you may enjoy using to make your journey a bit smoother. You will find these optional steps in the next section. Otherwise, jump ahead to start your vacation!
Preparation for Relaxation:
Mindfulness Exercises Based On the Elemental Forces of Water, Air, Earth, And Fire
Mindfulness Exercise Based On the Element WATER
Water Rivers, ponds, lakes, and streams ‒ all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do ‒ they all contain truths. -Muhammad Ali
- We begin your journey with water. You will climb glaciers, dance in waves, and relax by gentle waterfalls. We will explore the physical world of water within your mind. These daily meditations will offer you a refuge from stress.
- Water is essential to life. It cycles down from our mountains through mighty rivers to calm seas. It rises into the sky and falls to the earth, nourishing the life below.
- You are water. You are life. In water, you find a connection. In water, you will find calm. Take a deep breath and let go. You are ready to begin your mindfulness exercise.
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. -Mahatma Gandhi
- Today you will be meditating at the shore of a vast ocean. Use your imagination to follow along. If you need help visualizing, feel free to focus on the ocean image provided or find your own. Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit. Straighten your back and gently roll your shoulders. Feel the tension roll out of them as you breathe in and out. Taking deep conscious breaths, get settled into your seat. Now let your imagination wash you away.
- You are sitting on the soft sand of a beach at sunset. It is warm. Your hands rest at your side. You feel the silky sand with your fingertips. And, you touch it, and it falls through your fingers. You breathe in. The salt air fills your lungs, invigorating you. You taste it on your lips. There is a gentle breeze surrounding you. It caresses your face, and you feel calm enveloping you. You look ahead and before you stretch the ocean. Which ocean is it? Which ocean enchants and delights you?
- It can be any ocean you desire. Are these the chilly waters of the Pacific, and do volcanic cliffs rise at your back? Is it the Atlantic, and do you know the countries that lie on the other side? Is it the Indian Ocean with warm blue waters lapping at the shore? Or is it an ocean in your dreams? Are the waters purple and filled with stardust?
- See your ocean stretch out before you. Looking straight ahead, there is no land once the beach ends. The water appears to go on forever, reaching out to the horizon. Your eyes rest on the gentle waves rolling towards you. The strain of the day leaves you. No more screens, no more work, you find your peace in those waves. Ever forward they roll, rocking and soothing you.
- You see the tide rise towards you, but you feel no fear. It is an ocean of love that greets you. The waters are warm as the first waves kiss your feet and soon surround your seated body. You are embraced. The wind and water wrap around you. You are secure in the arms of nature. The oceans were the birthplace of life, and it is here you are reborn. You are born into love. You are born into peace. Stress is only a memory, as you know you are safe and loved.
- The sun begins to set. The vibrant reds, purples, and pinks paint your ocean with color. The sun glows orange as it descends into the horizon. You feel joy at the day’s end as you know it will certainly begin again, bringing with it new possibilities and adventure. The cool purples and blues of nightfall as the sun disappears. The moon and stars’ white light now flicker across your ocean. Sit. Breathe. Enjoy. You are in the arms of your ocean. You are connected to all the oceans of the world. Let yourself sit in silence until you are ready to come back to your physical location.
Mindfulness Exercise Based On the Element AIR
If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it. -Toni Morrison
- You are now rising from the seas to the sky. You will soar to great heights and distant lands. The daily mediations this week will take you on airy adventures in your mind.
- Air fills our atmosphere and surrounds us. We depend on the oxygen in it to breathe. Take a deep breath. Feel your chest expand, and the air fills your lungs. The cells of your body are now enriched with its oxygen. You feel awake and alive.
- In the air, you will find energy and adventure. You will fly high as we journey across your imagination. Breathe deep again and release. Feel your body relaxing, and let yourself smile. Let us begin your mindfulness exercise now.
A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed…It feels like an impulsion…this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons. -Richard Bach
- We will start with a transition from water to air with clouds. Clouds are made of water droplets suspended together in the sky. Find a comfortable place to sit. If there are clouds in the sky today, position yourself to see outside easily, or if not, find a cloud image that speaks to you. Breathe in and let go.
- You are floating on the surface of your ocean. You are calm and supported by the water, becoming part of the water. Look above you. Find your cloud. What is its shape? Is it delicate and feather-like? Are the clouds thick, and do they cover the sky like a down comforter? Are they majestic mountains of the fluffiest cotton you can imagine?
- Let your heart swell with the joy of your cloud’s beauty. The sun breaks through to warm you. You become light and begin to rise from the water. You are evaporating. And, you are now part of the air.
- The molecules of your body vibrate with happiness as you fly higher into the atmosphere. The earth is small below. The air grows cold, and you feel refreshed. Your cloud grows in size as you come closer. It looks soft and inviting as if it is waiting for you.
- With a whoosh, you greet your cloud, and it embraces you. Swept into its fold, you no longer need to fly for it is holding you securely here in the sky. You feel enveloped and safe. You gaze down at the scenery below. And, you see the ocean’s blue waters. And, you see the land covered in lush greenery.
- Relax. You are weightless, surrounded by love and support. Your worries and fears are too heavy. They fall through you to the water below. They are gone. Float in your cloud, free of all cares.
- Sunlight shines through your cloud. The light divides as it hits the water droplets, and a rainbow emerges. The rainbow’s colors are vibrant against the soft whiteness of your cloud. The world around you is filled with color.
- At times life may seem gray and dull, but with the right light, the beauty of a rainbow will breakthrough. Find your light. Here is your cloud you have let go of the weights that held you down before. As you go through your day, let go of those weights that bind you and reach for the sky. Your cloud welcomes you.
Mindfulness Exercise Based On the Element EARTH
Life comes from the earth, and life returns to the earth. –Zhuangzi
- Having traveled the seas and air, we are now returning to land. This week we will meditate on earth and its products. You will dig deep and climb high.
- The earth is your mother. For millennia it has supported and nourished our ancestors. It gives birth to new life every day.
- You are of the earth. You are earth. Shifting and growing, you change but remain a constant presence for everyone in your life. Take a deep breath and relax. Feel the ground beneath you. You are grounded. You are rooted. And, you are alive. Let us begin now.
A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust. -Gertrude Jekyll
- Today we will engage with the earth through a garden. If gardens are unfamiliar to you, it is recommended that you seek one out to visit or care for, since many find peace in gardens. For this meditation, find a quiet and peaceful place to sit. Sitting in a garden would be ideal, but you can work with what is available to you. You could position yourself to see plants outside your window, find a picture you like or place a houseplant in front of you for some attention. Once you are situated, take a deep breath and relax your body.
- Feel your body’s weight against the ground. You feel supported and secure here on the earth. You look before you to see a garden. The sun is shining. You are seated on some plush, green grass at the garden’s edge. The grass feels cool to your touch. You smell a rich, fresh earthiness in the air.
- The garden is flourishing and filled with happy, healthy plants. You see a mix of flowers and familiar foods. The squash plants wind across the garden. Their big leaves spread out, and their bright yellow blossoms are open. The tomatoes are bright red and plump, pulling the plant towards the ground with their weight. Brightly-colored chard grows in rows, the dark green of the leaves accented by the red and orange stalks. Daisies have popped up around the edge, and their cheery blossoms greet you. What else do you see? What would you grow in your garden?
- Bees buzz around the flowers, and dragonflies fly overhead. You look to the earth in the garden. It is rich, dark soil, perfect for the plants it supports. You touch it with your hands. The soil is damp and easy to move. Grab a handful of soil and feel it in your hands. Rub it around your hand, and look closely at it. This soil was created by the death of many lives. Plants and animals have returned to the earth, and with the help of worms and others, their bodies create the soil that now produces new life.
- Find hope in this cycle of death and rebirth. The death of an idea or dream that you once held dear maybe the soil from which your success grows. Tend to your garden with love and caring, but recognize that no bloom lasts forever. Some plants may return year after year, but for others, you must plant the seeds again each year.
- Do you have a seed to plant? What do you want to grow? What is your hope for your future? Look in your hand to find the seed of your new life.
- Poke your finger in the ground and place it into the earth. Cover it up again, and look to your side to see a small watering can. The can holds the water your seed needs. The water is filled with love, care, patience, and confidence in yourself. Pour it over your seed. Your seed is planted and growing. When you are ready, return your attention to the present but remember the seed you planted. Water it in your mind, and let the hope and confidence in you grow every day.
Mindfulness Exercise Based On the Element FIRE
The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled. –Plutarch
- We are ready to head into the flames. You will burn brightly with energy and rise like a phoenix. This week we will find relaxation in the fire.
- Fire transforms. Fire purifies. Humans owe our current existence to the power of fire. In ancient Greek legend, it was the gift of fire from Prometheus that threatened the gods of Olympus. With fire, we learned to cook, built engines, and transformed our physical environment into one of our imaginings.
- However, fire is not tame and deserves respect. This week we will meditate on fire and discover the possibilities that it creates for us and our planet. Be thankful and mindful as we begin.
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. –Buddha
- We will begin our week of fire small, with a single flame. If you have a candle, place it in front of your preferred meditation seat on a steady, safe surface. Light the wick and situate yourself in front of the candle. Make yourself comfortable and take a deep breath while looking into the flame. If you do not have a candle or are unable to burn one safely, use your mind to imagine a beautiful wax candle with a bright yellow flame atop it.
- See the flame before you. Let your eyes rest upon it. Watch it move with the air. Count the colors you find within its fire. Allow your mind to clear. As thoughts arise, acknowledge them and let them float into the fire to fly away in smoke. Your mind is empty except for the candle’s light before you.
- This one point of light glows brightly, illuminating the world around it. It is small but it is significant. The candle’s light has watched great books being written, heartfelt prayers being uttered, and comforted many who felt alone in the dark. The light of a candle may extinguish with a gust of wind, but its flame can be reignited whenever you need it.
- Gaze within your heart. Inside you there burns a flame. This is the fire of your love. The fuel of this flame is infinite, and its wick never ends. Its light may become shrouded in times of difficulty, but still, it is there, burning steadily. This flame is a beacon showing you the way, and the way is love.
- Rest your eyes on the gentle glow of the candle’s flame. You are calm. You are lit within by love. Your love is yours to share. Let your mind bring forth the images of those you love. You may see friends, family, pets, and others who have brought joy to your life.
- Now is your chance to share. Imagine picking up that candle within your heart and lighting the light within each of them. When you love and give love, you create and fuel the love within the hearts of others. The light from the candles before you grow as you light each one, and you feel the room brighten. You feel lighter as you share the light within you. Your love grows and your love endures.
- When you share your love with others, you inspire them to do the same. Those you love and who you are loving will in turn share their light with others. Soon all hearts will be ignited with love for their fellow humans, earth, and the universe. You see the lit flames floating across the sky like Chinese lanterns, filling the world with light and peace. You are part of that mindfulness and peace. When you are ready, bring your focus back to your one candle, and then to the room in which you are seated.
We are now at the end of our days of mindfulness and relaxation. You should have a better idea of how to find mindfulness and relaxation in your daily life now. You now know how to make time for mindfulness and relaxation. Finding peace in the day is no longer a struggle as you can take a moment to revisit one of the beautiful scenes you have explored in this article.
Did you enjoy your vacation? Feel proud about the work you accomplished during your mental vacation. You feel confident knowing that you have confronted your inner thoughts. You are thankful for the resources in your life. And, you are relaxed and happy!
Note: Feel free to repeat the mindfulness exercises and meditations in this article as often as you like, and share the joy you find in them with those you know. You are growing mindful!