“Be a water blessing!”. Cheryl Angel, Indigenous leader, and water protector stood at the base of the stream as it becomes the sea and lovingly invited us to take our coveted roles as water blessings and water protectors.
It felt like an initiation into a club to which I had always belonged.
Beneath the Alaskan glaciers, overlooking the peak of the world, a genuine spark came across my mind of what it really means to protect our waters, and how I can every day take actions to do that.
I had never made it to Standing Rock to stand against the pipeline which brought so much attention to the global fight to protect water and to protect life on this planet in 2016.
I watched the fight in awe as I was in Thailand teaching Yoga to eager seekers. I believe many of us come to Yoga for the unified feeling we receive from the practices and teachings. I learned how to be a better human through Yoga and so as I watched my brothers and sisters stand up in protection, I felt something in me stir. I felt connected in my bones and knew it was an important matter.
I began to infuse the element of water into my teachings of Yoga. Connecting to the elements is a specialty in Yoga. In Sanskrit, the elements are called the Mahabhutas.
In the Yogic world, it has always been known that the elements comprise all of life including our physical body. We are the elements and the elements are everything. As a peaceful Yogi meditating on the aspects of water, I also wanted to be on the frontlines as an activist fighting alongside indigenous people to protect our environment.
I am realizing I do not have to choose between being an activist or a peaceful practitioner of Yoga. I most certainly am BOTH.
Fast forward 5 years and I am present at an intentional gathering to protect the waters and call for awareness to the mining and pollution about to take place on a sacred river in Haines Alaska. I am sitting at the feet of an unintentional Yogi who is asking me to BE A WATER BLESSING.
Be a water blessing? But how?
What I learned at Aquascension, an annual gathering for pure waters is that water is a truly alive sentient being and we are made of her.
Our whole bodies are made of water and water is involved in every process of life from the birthing of a child to the manufacturing of our electronics whom we love so much.
“Water is life” became much more of an alive statement in me.
Are you remembering your true nature as a part of the earth? Do you also want to be a water blessing?
Here are 3 ways you can connect to water and become a water blessing, which was taught to me by experts and indigenous leaders from around the world.
1. Find a local spring and worship the heck out of it. Jen Isabel Friend, a leader in water education and a fellow water blessing brings to light the remembering of ancient rituals to honor our water.
Spring water was an original way people of the earth would drink pure fresh water. This bottled up, and shipped worldwide water concept is a fairly new invention.
Spring water is water as it is meant to be consumed, fully natural & springing forth from our groundwater systems, processed by nature in its full hydrological cycle.
You can find a local spring here https://www.findaspring.com. To bring more awareness to the sacredness of water you can make your visit to your local spring like a pilgrimage. Take your most precious water containers and bring special objects from nature to decorate the spring. If your spring is far away, make a community day of it and also go on a hike while you are out in nature.
Connecting to water as a living entity that is responsible for all life on this planet will uplift your consciousness while providing you with the freshest, purest water to drink. How lovely!
2. Become an ally and an accomplice for the rights of water. Cheryl Angel animately told us the story of the moment when she could no longer stay on the couch researching how to protect our waters, but got off the couch and climbed the hill to sit in protest with her fellow water protectors.
From the couch, with our FB posts and shares, we are good Allys bringing awareness to the effects of mining, pipelines and other invasive means that profit off of polluting our environment. But to really let the waters know you are here for her, to really let your voice be heard, find out how you can get off from the couch, become an accomplice in protecting clean natural waterways and go be with the people on the front lines. This doesn’t mean you need to come fighting. You can bring your peaceful meditative nature to the site as well.
Which brings me to my number 3 way to be in the right relationship to water.
3. Meditate, offer, and pray to the water. Columbian indigenous elders called mamos, flew all the way north to meet the local indigenous leaders there and teach us about the ways of their people. In the Kogi tribe, the Mamo is the elder and the one who holds the wisdom of the earth’s song. Their culture risks fading if the young ones do not carry out these peaceful ways. In the indigenous culture of the Kogi’s and the Weewah tribes in the Sierra Nevadas of Columbia, the water is thought of and prayed to as a living being.
Much like the way Yogis honor different Gods and Goddesses, The water is honored and worshiped as a living being. Actually, the Yogis have been praying to the river Ganges in India for centuries, because in fact, water is sentient. The structure of water can hold our memories and interacts with our consciousness as demonstrated in Dr. Emotos work in “Messages From Water”.
The Mamo’s honor the water every day through prayers called pagimentos. They offer song and dance to the water and honor the life she provides. The Tinglit tribes of the north in Haines Alaska do as well.
So from the east in India, the south in the highlands of Columbia and the very ceiling of the world in Alaska, people recognize water as life, water as alive, and water as sacred.
When we honor the water in this way, it is hard to deny the emotions that arise. It is as if we are awakening to the reality of what is, and remembering the depth of life itself.
We evolved from the sea, after all, and we spent the first 9 months of our life in the sea of our mother's wombs. We engage with water every day by drinking her freshness and bathing in her cleansing essence and we are made of water. Not only our blood and bodily fluids but every molecule of our body has the essence of water.
Just imagine how much your consciousness would shift if every time you drank a glass of water you thanked her for this blessing? What if every time you turned on your faucet you thanked the water. You interact with the element of water so often, by being grateful every time you come in contact with water, you train your brain to be in a state of gratitude which is scientifically proven to uplift your mood, and state of well being.
Be in the right relationship to water and be in the right relationship to life.
Learning from my indigenous elders has been a blessing. Learning authentic Yoga has started me on the path of deeper caring, deeper self-love, and has uplifted my consciousness to be more attuned to the things that really matter in life.
Every June, we gather in honor of the water in beautiful Haines Alaska. Beneath the grandfather Glaciers, amongst the bald eagles, and we sing dance and pray in honor of the water.