The Elements of Ayurveda: Your Roadmap to Balance
Author: Jacky Rae
Ayurveda describes the special relationship we have with the universe. It provides the roadmap that can lead us to perfect balance and harmony. All we have to do is follow the signposts it sets out for us. These signposts come in the form of the five Ayurveda elements.
The five elements of Ayurveda are found in everything in the universe. They’re found in our bodies, in our food, and in our environment.
By beginning to recognize the qualities of each of these elements, you will notice how they show up in your diet, your yoga practices, your meditation practices, your relationships, and throughout your life.
As you begin to understand these five elements of nature in a new way, you will start to understand the basic principles of Ayurvedic medicine.
Once you recognize them in your life, you can use them as signposts to move yourself and your life towards perfect balance. A simple and elemental shift in consciousness is all it takes.
Before long, you’ll not only be using the beautiful teachings of Ayurveda in your own life, you’ll also be using them to help your family and your students.
The 5 Ayurveda Elements
The five elements are:
- Ether (or space)
How would you describe air? How do you experience it using your five senses? What does it look like? How does it feel? How does it sound?
Air is cold. It’s mobile. It’s fast moving. It’s always changing. It can feel dry to the touch. It’s light; it weighs little to nothing at all.
The word Ayurveda uses to describe this feeling, this element of air and all of its manifestations, is Vata.
The next element is space, sometimes also referred to as ether. in Ayurveda, space is all-pervading and all-encompassing. It’s everywhere. Space is in our bodies, our minds, and everywhere in the universe.
Think of ether. Think of space. What does it look like? How does it feel? How would you describe it to someone who’s not of this world? What is space?
Space is really, really light. It can be soft and perhaps even smooth in texture. It’s vast and expansive.
Ayurveda refers to the element of space and its similar qualities as Vata as well.
The next elemental signpost on our journey is fire.
Unmistakably hot and dry, fire can be described as sharp and penetrating. It’s very light and very dry.
What other words can you use to describe the element of fire?
Ayurveda describes fire and all its qualities as Pitta.
Water is cold in nature. It’s damp. It’s a liquid and it’s soft to the touch. It’s much more dense than air, space, or fire.
Think of water. How does it feel? What does it look like?
Ayurveda describes the element water and all of its manifestations as Kapha.
The last universal signpost we’re going to talk about is the element of earth.
Earth, as I’m sure we can all agree, is very solid. It’s heavy and stable.
When Ayurveda speaks of the element of earth and all its wonders, it uses the word Kapha.
Look for the 5 Ayurveda Elements in Your Life
The Universe has set out these five universal signposts for us to follow, and Ayurveda has decoded them for us. The Ayurveda elements of space, air, fire, water, and earth are the beacons of light on your journey to complete harmony.
Each one of these elements appears in all of us, at different times throughout our lives. By keeping an eye out for them, by understanding how they influence our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our lives, and by noticing which ones are dominating and which ones are causing disharmony, you can follow the Universe’s roadmap to balance.
Ayurveda teaches that each one of us is in a unique place in the universe, that each of us is a one-of-a-kind manifestation of the universe and the elements in it.
We have each been brought to where we are because of our own set of circumstances. We are all on our own personal journeys. We all have a unique set of genes, a unique history, lifestyle, diet, routine, and relationships.
When we can begin to recognize our own unique combination of elements and how they are showing up in our bodies, minds, relationships, yoga practices, meditation, and practice of pranayama, we can begin to see how our unique set of signposts is pointing us to our own perfect state of balance.
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