Elements & Clothing: EARTH

Elements & Clothing: EARTH

by Sandra Radja/Julie McLachlan/Carlena D'Arma/Fiona Kennaugh (photo credit)

EARTH brings to mind a sense of resilience,  reliability and durability. It incorporates the qualities of heavy, dense, thick slow, rough and dull (as in muted colours). It gives the wearer form and structure and provides comfort and warmth. 

You may want to look at bringing more earthiness to your wardrobe if you're feeling un-grounded or you lack a sense of structure or integrity in the body or mind, and if you feel vulnerable, anxious, weak, chaotic, insignificant or emaciated. Textures that embody the earth element include wool, corduroy, denim, and tweed.

As one function of the earth element is to retain heat, the bodies’ ability to regulate internal temperature decreases and an individual easily feels cold. Lacking in substance, a person with a deficiency of earth is unable to stand up against the challenges of the world and is easily pushed aside by stronger forces.
— Dr Marc Halpern "The Five Elements: Earth in Ayurveda"

We venture on a girl date to see whether we could capture the ideas of earth in clothing. Deep into the Wombat Forest where the air feels dank, heavy and still. Wombat Forest, in Victoria,  is the only initiative in Australia to introduce community forestry, where the community assist the government and NGO's in making decisions for the forest and land use. In the middle of Winter it has a moist and weighty mood and was the perfect setting to blend into and be inspired by.

The hardest part was setting the tone with 4 mates. No laughing or messing around! :) We needed to inspire the feelings of dullness and static and slow to showcase the ideas we were looking for. Afterwards we commented on how enjoyable the experience was. There was something nice about feeling held for a time in that space.  The forest feels old and the tree tops form a protective shield, like that feeling of sitting next to your grandparent who has cultivated the art of listening and ground you with their feelings of knowing the ways of nature. I now have an association of the clothing to the qualities of the forest; you can take these feelings with you - that's the best part.

Dull

Muted colours that blend with an earthy environment of browns, greens, and grey. They don't excite the senses and add a feeling of coolness which can create a paleness to the Kapha complexion. Vata can also become pale from dullness but fortunately warm fires can counteract that quality. The dull or bland quality feels slow and can calm an impassioned Pitta but slow down even further the Kapha personality if there is a tendency to resistance.

Earth element clothing 1

Dense

The compact feeling of woven heavy fabric feels like a condensed feeling that holds the body in place. It feels protective, almost like a feeling of temporary Ojas (immunity).  The thicker and more woven the fabric, the more it feels like the musculature gains a sense of integrity. Vata, usually quite fragile and insecure, benefits well from this quality. Pitta benefits as well depending on the water element in the body.  Kapha, already quite dense, can afford to lose it's structure somewhat and may not benefit from an increase in the qualities of denseness.

Coarse

The rough quality increases Vata and Pitta and decreases Kapha. Coarse (or rough) qualities help to dispel water. It can feel raw and untreated (unrefined). Thick skins do better with the coarse qualities as it may dry out the thin Vata skin and aggravate a sensitive Pitta skin. Certain sweaters (jumpers) can give you that feeling of roughess and although heavy might make you itch your skin.   

Earth element clothing 3

Stable

The sturdiness of boots. You can kick them around and feel protected. The weight of them brings your energy down to your feet and makes them feel heavy. Most original boots were made from leather, but there are animal friendly versions these days. Vata and Pitta dosha do well from the grounded feeling of heaviness at the souls of the feet.  Kapha, already feeling heavy and grounded, may feel like it's dragging it's feet, literally.

Earth element clothing 2

Heavy

Blankets provide warmth through the thickness of the material which provides the comfort of heaviness.  Vata should avoid getting cold as it's energy is so easily dispersed into the ether. Even at night, certain woven blankets may provide not just warmth but the heaviness that some goose feathered duvets can't satisfy. Feel the weight of the fabric to determine what your dosha needs.