Air Element Altar, by Victoria McMahon

The events of the past week have been weighing heavy upon my heart.  I feel/sense the pressure on my sternum physically and notice difficulty in the taking in of a deep breath.  Rising thoughts of staying in isolation longer is tugging on my heart, calling in deeper heaviness upon my thoughts.  As I have been gathering my ideas and notes to write this blog, I am realizing in this moment how my body is telling the story of imbalance and disequilibrium of the air element.  

Air is by design the element that expands, caresses and energizes.  It is the metapoint of movement from the elements of earth, water and fire that transcends boundaries and limitations, connecting us with the etheric realms.  When fire energy is passionately flowing and orderly we are less reactive, thus our air element is less scattering and we are contemplative in reflection of self/other.  This fueling the fires of passion (will), being the uplifting energy that opens us up into the expansiveness of spirit, thus awakens us into the meta state of graceful acceptance.  

We can’t see air in and of itself, but we do feel its presence.  Air offers us the opportunity to change directions, open up into a sense of freedom.  Air presences itself in our environment by observing its movement, like the flowers or tree limbs moving with the breeze or the flicker of a candle flame.  

As I am realizing the need for a soft and gentle summer breeze to wisp by my face and soothe my heart, I feel how I am engaging with my breath in this moment, the most evident connection we have with the air element.  Like water, air fills any space or takes the shape of a container.  Take a breath now with me and notice how air brings forth the quality of lightness.  What are the words that rise in you to express the quality of air element in you?  Is it similar to the heaviness I have been noticing lately?  Is it lightness that feels like a gentle caress, or spacious expansion?  Do you notice the air element modulating as you give attention over the next moments of inhalation and exhalation?  The invitation of air element is about modulating  balance, the equilibrium of self/other.  Operating in activities from this sense of dynamic equilibrium brings us closer to the experience of us as a metapoint, the so above/so below operational being that arises towards spirit and descends towards matter.  

Many of us spend years of our lives without being conscious of our breathing.  In yoga practice, we specifically interact with the air element via our relationship to the breath.  Yoga practitioners have recognized how conscious breathing is the foundation to every other aspect of the practice.  What we call ‘pranayama’ is truly our engagement with the air element to build a relationship with self/other through the exploration of changing states of being, what I believe Tantra refers to as metastating.  Pranayama penetrates through all the levels of our being, from our physical body to our etheric bliss consciousness being.

According to, “research has shown that 80% of anxious symptoms can be reduced within a minute of diaphragmatic breathing. In other words, when we feel the stressors of life building up, we have one immediate tool to tear them down…deep, belly breaths that emphasize a longer and slower exhalation”.

The air element offers the quality of expansion of our heart chakra  energy center and we have the opportunity to build our sentient intelligence registers of connecting physical and etheric realms by practicing regular pranayama (breath) practices as well as deepening our knowledge as we engage awareness of breath in yoga, tai chi or other forms of movement.  Yoga Poses that “open the heart space” such as backbends and movements to expand the chest are helpful. And sensing into deeper connection, everything comes together in the heart.  As I mentioned previously, physically grounding through the earth/water/fire elements (the lower three chakras) brings a sense of balance within the heart and at the same time, supports the expansion in the love focused part of our being. This expansion then lends us to open up into a transitioning point of speaking truth, following intuition and connecting  to higher consciousness. As we can come fully into our heart and embrace the air element, we begin to recognize how all of us are interrelated, interdependent and symbiotic.

One of the ways this connection to all beings is evident is that we are all breathing the same air: the air that our ancestors breathed and that all beings are breathing throughout the world. We all share a common breath. Imagine each of us literally living and breathing these breaths from an intention of peace, compassion and love.  What a remarkable gift exchange, with every breath, is being offered to all beings everywhere.  Pure love (life opening up into the vibration of the eternal) flowing as air element natures in harmonious equilibrium.

As I am setting up my Air Element Altar, I am considering what reminds me of the air element.  Remember the feather floating through the air in the movie, Forrest Gump?  I have some feathers to place on the altar to remind me of powerful graceful acceptance that floats on the lightness of the breath.  I also have a hand fan to remember that my actions can be slow, deep and easy instead of reactive or held.  Flying creatures like dragons are significant reminders of air element along with animals that are symbolic of grace like the antelope and the dove.

I am placing my emerald ring and pieces of rose quartz to hold the energizes of love and balance.  Consider also, photos of those you love/hold dear or represent compassionate people.  I have a statue of Quan Yin to place on the altar as well.  You might be connected to another aspect of compassion through Christ Consciousness or Aphrodite or another tradition.  You may also consider using a green altar cloth…I have chosen a light blue sarong cloth that has a hummingbird as I am deeply connected to the lightness in flight and remembrance to transmute reactive natures towards graceful acceptance.  Remember, choose a candle to awaken your sentience to the flicker flame of air’s ongoing presence.  And lastly, place essential oil fragrances that are carried by the air element, especially those like frankincense or lotus oil in a diffuser if available.  Or use incense burners to engage your sentient registers of the air element to awaken simply being in aliveness.

I am loved. I let love in.

I am kind to myself.

I live in peace and gratitude.



Breathing in….Breathing out,