sculpture of body filled with starlight

Awakening the Ether or Space Element: Essential oils and your yoga practice

…we come

into a deep meditation
on stillness,

absorbed and dissolved
in the radiance
of the stars
and the energy
of space.

The prana
that creates
and sustains
our physical bodies

is charged
with such divine emotion
that the world of light,

from which
the body was formed,

comes into clear vision

and the body is seen
as an image

of luminous bliss.

Overwhelming sensations
cascading across
every level of our being

bring us
into a world
that exists
between matter and spirit,

as the thrill of life
massages our entire being
from every direction

and the pleasure
of etheric romance
collapses our substance

into the radiant essence

of Divine Love.

As the space
between matter and spirit
is illuminated,

we move
into the source
of spiritual vision
in the Divine Eye.

Poem from

Space ElementThe Ether or Space Element (Akasha)

Space is the mother of the other elements. The experience of space as luminous emptiness is the basis of higher spiritual experiences. Its adjective is “ethereal”, meaning: “light, airy, spiritual”. Usually in yogic realms it is referred to as “consciousness”.  The space element is associated with true-nature, authenticity, and integrity.  This element resonates with our inner truth and helps us find a personal way to convey our voice to the outside world. The rhythm of music, creativity of dance, the vibration of singing, and the communication we make through writing and speaking are all ways to express ourselves. This element is associated with communication, self-expression, self-worth, acceptance, acknowledgement, connection with spirit, identity, space, boundaries, time, travel, organization, ambiance, grief, pride, jealously, and humility.

Ether or space is the element representing the fifth/throat chakra.

The Fifth or Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)Throat Chakra symbol

The fifth chakra is located at the level of the throat and is associated with the neck and its various components such as the trachea, esophagus, cervical vertebrae, and throat; as well as the jaw, ears, mouth, teeth, gums, bronchial tubes and upper lungs. The gland, which the fifth chakra is paired with, is that of the thyroid. The thyroid dictates our ability to physically grow and this chakra parallels that by being about spiritual growth. Known as the Throat Chakra, this energy center vibrates in the color of pale blue and is represented by the 16 petalled lotus. The seed mantra is Ham.  The element it is associated with is Ether or space, the field of subtle vibrations. The throat chakra is our Will center – both personal will and divine will. It is here that we make choices, each choice directing us on our spiritual journey.

Chakra colors up to ThroatThe fifth chakra is a bridge from the sixth chakra of thought to the fourth chakra of feelings and desire. It links our ability to react mentally with our ability to respond emotionally, so that we are able to make our choices both with reason and sense. This chakra also enables us to represent ourselves vocally. It is the outward expression of our full potential of Self, in that, if all our lower chakras are open and energy is flowing freely, then anything that we express from the throat chakra would be pulled from a place of being grounded (1st), supported with personal power (2nd), full of innate wisdom (3rd), and tempered by unconditional love of the heart (4th). The 5th also links to the higher chakras so we would also pull down energy from a more mystical (6th) and divine (7th) aspect of self to round out the experience. We would manifest a true sense of Being by communicating with our complete energetic self.

When the fifth chakra is balanced and centered, we are able to speak with confidence and truth because we are grounded in a belief of Self. If our will chakra is open, then we no longer need to force our opinions on others. We can speak gently and lovingly, with compassion and truth of conviction, so that others will hear us from their hearts and not feel threatened by our beliefs. With a balanced 5th chakra, we can communicate without fear of being judged by others and we also can speak without a voice of judgment. Judgments come from fear, so when we are bridging the heart and the mind in an unprejudiced, objective way, then, we no longer need to make ourselves feel superior by proving the others inferior. We can all be equal and living our own truths. There is a Universal law that states that there is no one Truth – We all need to learn what are our own individual truths are and then live by them, uninfluenced by others’ belief systems. When we are able to do that, we then can live from an open personal/divine will center of flowing energy.

The fifth chakra, as stated above, also is associated with the ears as well as the throat. In this chakra we are able to hear our own inner voice; the voice of wisdom, of compassion, of knowledge. We also can hear the Divine voice, the higher source of wisdom and truth that the upper chakras connect us to. When we combine the Divine voice with our own inner voice, and follow the path it leads us down, then we are truly living our Truth. We can attain an independence and freedom – freedom from fear, from judgment, from dysfunction. We can hear, follow and speak our inner and Divine Truth.

When this chakra is imbalanced or dysfunctional, we can manifest a wide variety of disease states. So many colds, sore throats and vocal problems stem from our fear of speaking up for ourselves, for claiming and living our true authentic selves. Stuttering, speech impediments and laryngitis can be associated to a blocked throat chakra. TMJ dysfunction, teeth grinding, bleeding gums and tooth problems can also be affected when we have to bite back our words and swallow our beliefs. We find it difficult to express emotion, so we shut down inside, clamping our mouths shut, clamping our feelings shut, keeping out love and tenderness. Self-confidence, self-belief, self-love are all squashed down, held back and unable to be expressed when the fifth chakra is blocked. We lose sight of our Truth and begin to live by someone else’s version of it, causing us imbalance and pain. We are no longer able to say “no” to other’s voices because we are no longer able to hear our own inner voice.

The fifth chakra is our mediator between the spoken word and the divine word, the inner voice and the expressed voice, the lower personality and the god-self, the thought and its manifestation in action. We all need to be living our truths and speaking from the heart, especially in this day and age of instant manifestation from thought into experience. We can learn to consciously use our fifth chakra as the spokesperson of positivity so we can avoid cosmic wake up calls.

Space/Ether Element and Our Yoga Practice

As we progress in our yoga practice, we become increasingly conscious. As consciousness of our true self, our authenticity, our integrity develops and deepens, we become more aware of our destructive thought patterns and base motivations. Often, we develop a keen awareness of a particular aspect of ourselves that has previously been unconscious. Bringing light where there was darkness. This is when we begin to live our yoga practice in everything we do. We become aware of our true selves in all situations, not just during yoga. This is not a destination, but rather a life-long process of progress and evolution. We may bring the Ether element into the yoga practice through focusing our awareness into very specific aspects of the posture or the body in the asana (posture). Bringing a focused awareness to, for instance, the internal massage of organs and glands deep inside the body that yoga helps to produce. Like a massage from the inside out.

Movement towards enlightenment begins when we become aware of our true thoughts, motivations and perceptions.  The word “enlightening” means bringing light to or “awakening”. Knowledge and wisdom, the truth, lies within, waiting to be discovered. One must often first pass through some very dark states to get to the place where the truth, or light, resides. Learning deep compassion for yourself, both in yoga and in life, allows us to move through the darkness.  Once acknowledgement of our truth takes place, we may begin a process of freedom from old patterns, and ultimately achieve a place of peace, calm and stillness in our inner world. We touch on a place of inner peace and calm that is truly the center of our being, both literally and figuratively.

This level of higher consciousness (awareness) is practiced throughout yoga class, in aUstrasana (Camel Pose)sanas, relaxation, during seated meditation and during our day-to-day lives. It is an inward journey, and one that is uniquely personal.

Poor communication skills, fear of speaking up, repressed feelings, uncontrolled verbal outbursts, deceit, manipulative behavior, talking excessively or inability to listen are all signs of imbalance in the throat chakra.  Different neck stretches and shoulder openers, including Ustrasana (Camel Pose), Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand), and Halasana (Plow Pose), can aid the fifth chakra.

Essential Oil Connection

Essential oils for balancing the throat chakra are

So how can aromatherapy help unblock the throat chakra? Supporting our inner strength and fortitude with oils such as frankincense, rose, jasmine, sandalwood, neroli and ylang ylang can help. These oils help us to feel more secure about ourselves, as well as more self-love, self-confidence and self-actualization. There are also oils that work physiologically on the affected throat area to open the vocal cords and reduce inflammation in the throat tissue. When the physical body is healthy and strong, it is easier to work on the energetic body. Some oils that reduce inflammation and soothe sore throats are tea tree, eucalyptus, sandalwood, frankincense, clary sage, and lavender. These oils can be inhaled or rubbed (in a carrier oil) on the affected area.

Bleeding gums and aching teeth can be a symptom of an inability to speak up for oneself. Oils that assist in the care and healing of teeth and gums are clove, myrrh, lemon, tea tree, peppermint and sage. These oils can be applied directly to a Q-Tip and swabbed around the mouth and gums for effective healing. Myrrh especially is non-toxic and incredibly soothing for any gum complaints.

Pain and disease is usually a wake up call to encourage us to pay attention to a situation or a problem that we are ignoring. When the Universe is trying to get our attention and we aren’t listening to our inner selves, then we can manifest earaches, tinnitis (ringing in the ears), or even partial deafness. Some oils that could help an ear condition are tea tree, rosemary, sandalwood, frankincense, lavender, neroli, and hyssop. These oils can be added to a base oil and rubbed around the exterior of the ear.  Compresses are a wonderful way to sooth earaches. Any of the above oils can be used with a compress and placed over the ear to pull out infection and reduce pain.

Here is to finding your voice in the world and warming your throat with healing peppermint!  Kim

Information on chakras and essential oils supported by Suzanne Bovenizer cmt, cst

See earlier articles – Awaken Your Elemental Self: Essential Oils and Your Yoga Practice at for introduction to using essential oils in your yoga practice, the Earth Element, and safety guidelines.  See for blog on water element and your yoga practice.  See for blog on the fire element and your yoga practice.  See for blog on the air element and your yoga practice.