We take birth from nature’s matrix made up of the Five Elements and dissolve in the same upon death. Our body and being correspond to panchabhuta- the five-faceted complex of Nature and this correspondence forms the primary basis of diagnosis, healing, and wellbeing in the ancient knowledge systems of Yoga and Ayurveda.
Going advanced on the yogic path, as we develop deep intuition with our asana and meditation practice, this universal connectedness between being and nature gains detailed clarification. From prominent physical attributes to complex behavioral patterns, the nature of an ailment and emotional stability, each characteristic of an individual can be traced to one’s corresponding traits to the Five Elements of Nature. Unbeknown to you, your downward-dog in the morning is igniting ‘fire’ internally, helping you transform food into energy. Meditation is creating silence within your mental canvas, corresponding to the ‘space’ matter of the Five Elements of the universe, a premise for attaining higher spiritual intelligence.
Thus, your yoga is an important corollary to the Five Elements of Nature and an informed practice can mean new horizons of understanding in the discipline. Let’s delve into the innerwork of yoga in correlation with the tattvas or Five Elements of Nature.
What Are the Five Elements and How Do They Reflect In Us?
Attributive of different unique qualities, the five elements are present in nature as in the ‘matter’ of each being, in varying proportions and in combination with others. As you grow more perceptive inwardly with yoga, you will be able to discover these five states of matter with their corresponding properties within your nature– earth (bhumi), water (jala), fire (agni), air (pavan), sky (aakash).
Earth signifies solidity and groundedness. We are ‘earthen’ in our body with our muscles and bones. We are water, odorless but perceivable in our body’s different component fluids. In our bloodstream, lymph, sweat channels, and other bodily fluid tracts, the properties of jala reflect. Fire is a transformative element which burns from one state into another. It is manifest in the ingestion of food, transforming it to absorbable nutrition and thus bringing growth. Air is the medium of breath in the body, an important conductor of the yogic-pranayamic life factor of breath. Space is devoid of any sensory influence. It is only accessible through the spiritual endeavor. It is the element of the Atman or soul that can only reveal through spiritual expressions.
Compatibility Between the Five Elements
A reiteration of the laws of physics, elemental compatibility in nature defines how to bring harmony within the body-mind. Some elements are averse to each other while the coexistence of some could be thoroughly peaceful. For example, fire and water spell destruction, an overstimulation of fire in the body can lead to inflammation and other discomforts while excessive water retention brings digestive malfunctions.
Yoga is an effective method to keep the elemental balance of nature in the body in place.
How Can We Use the Mode of Yoga to Bring Elemental Balance?
An imbalance in the scale of five leads to dosha vitiation, which is the Ayurvedic term of looking at diseases. Correction of imbalance shall refer to a corrective diet, lifestyle modification, and yoga. You can concentrate more upon rooting with your hands and feet in your yoga exercise to be earth-centric, make your joint movements agile with vinyasa to enhance the Water element, engage with full diaphragmatic breathing to ignite Fire, ease out with smooth breathing allowing Wind, and delve deeper into the stillness of your meditation to gather Space.
Yogic Nurture of the Fire Element- for Purification
Single out a sequence of the inner heat generating yoga to unleash your Fire side. Remember the following techniques as you progress–
- Hold the poses longer
- Indulge in the vinyasa or intensive ‘flow’ at a fast pace
- Concentrate on core strengthening poses
- Incorporate the ‘breath of fire’ pranayama style
Postures and sequences like the Surya Namaskara series, Phalakasana or the Plank Pose, Parivrtta Anjaneyasana or the Revolved Lunge Pose, etc., are known for attuning the body-mind to the Fire side.
Using Air to Cleanse and Restore Vital Balance
Chest opening yoga postures invoke the internal Air element. Bring out its cleansing properties by incorporating in your yoga–
- Thorough breath-awareness
- Aerial yoga
- Include vinyasa flow
Include sukhasana or the Easy Pose, bhujangasana or the Cobra Pose, dhanurasana or the Bow Pose, etc.
Tapping Into Our “Earth” Nature to Remain Grounded
Yoga invoking the groundedness of Earth nature should be slow and contemplative.
- Ujjayi breath
- Grounding and balancing sequences
The Mountain Pose, Warrior I, and Tree Poses are symbolic of the Earth element.
Spontaneity and Creativity With Yogic Invocation of “Water”
Get more fluid and spontaneous in your thoughts and movements to connect with Water.
- Deepen the stretches
- Bring agility in your pelvis
- Move in ‘waves’ or vinyasa
- Incorporate ujjayi breathing
Sequences and postures such as the Cobra Dance, Mandukasana or the Frog Pose, Badhakonasana or Bound Angle form access point to one’s innate Water nature.
“Space” or the Yogic Experience of Emptiness through Meditation
Fall into a pattern with the moving meditation of yoga to invoke Space in your being.
- Experience the spatial gap between two breaths
- Feel the creation of space between two transitory movements
- Stay in poses that open the thoracic cavity
Simhasana or the Lion Pose is centered around the meditative invocation of the Space element.