Five Elements of Human Body
The Universe is made up of five elements, Earth, Water Fire, Air, and Space. In the same way, a human body is also made up of these five elements called panchamahabhuta. The knowledge of these five elements is an essential pre-requisite for someone advancing in Yoga practice.
Whether we know it or not, all yoga practices work on the five elements. The foundation of yoga therapy and of Ayurveda is also a knowledge of these elements (tattwas). Ayurveda uses these elements to study the tridosha (the three fundamental energies or principles that control the physical and emotional functioning of our bodies) in the human body. The Five Elements Principle is used by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners to research the links between the physiology and pathology of the organs and tissues of Zang fu and the natural environment.
Let’s look at each one of them.
Earth (Prithivi): It resembles a solid-state of matter and is responsible for stability, fixity, and rigidity in the body. Earth forms solid structures, such as bones, muscles, skin, tissues, and hair.
Water (Jaal): Water element is characterized by the change. Our blood, lymph, and other fluids moving between our cells and through our vessels, bringing energy, carrying away wastes, regulating temperature, bringing disease-fighters, and carrying hormonal information from one area to another comprise water element.
Fire (Agni): It is a fire that connects the atoms of our molecules together within our bodies; that transforms food into fat (stored energy) and muscle; that turns (burns) food into work; and that stimulates the impulses of nervous reactions, our emotions, and even our processes of thought. Fire is also responsible for hunger, thirst, and sleep.
Air (Vayu): The dynamic element air is represented dominantly by breath. Perhaps the most powerful of all the element is air, which cleanses the body of toxins. It is because prana, the life force is breath. It naturally purifies us as it’s made to circulate through the different body parts. circulate through the body and the other components. It improves both our lightness and our inner strength by teaching the correct use of breath during asana and integrating Pranayama practice into our daily routine.
Space (Aakash): The space in which everything happens. The mother of the other element is space. Higher spiritual experiences are based on the perception of space as luminous emptiness.
Imbalances of the Elements and Diseases
Based on their nature, each of the five elements has a certain relationship with the other elements. The laws of nature are created by these relations. Some elements are rivals, in that each one blocks the others. For instance, fire and water will “destroy” each other if they get the opportunity. Fire and water need to be segregated in order to co-exist. Too much fire element in the body will create inflammation, whereas too much water will dampen the fire and cause indigestion.
Disease and suffering can occur if any element is impure or out of alignment with another.
When hair falls, teeth are weak, bones become weak, bleeding does not stop and the person does not gain weight, all these problems have to be solved by increasing the Earth element.
However, if the weight is excessive, the stool is rough, nodes or tumors are created in the body, the Earth element must be reduced.
By increasing the water element, the dry skin or burning sensation can be treated anywhere in the body. Swelling is caused by excess water in any part of the body or organ. The water element should be increased for problems like acidity, constipation, dryness, skin problems, excessive breakdown, or accumulation of toxins.
The cysts of the ovary, fibroids, joint osteophytes, and spine can be melted by a Balanced fire element. But it may lead to acidity, dark urine with a burning sensation, urticarial or skin rash, rash, agitation, etc. if the fire rises. And it causes a lack of appetite for food, high cholesterol, diabetes, lack of creativity if the fire decreases.
If the air increases it may cause twitching of muscles, Parkinson, unsteady mind. And if the air decreases, there might be no bowel movement, low blood pressure, a lack of creative ideas, laziness, and life goes at a very low pace.
A perfect space should be preserved between our joints, emotions, etc. If space between the joints decreases for some reason, joints may resist and thus cause pain in the joints. It is even more dangerous and triggers anxiety disorder, annoying conduct, insomnia, and aggression if space reduces in thoughts.
Ways to Balance Elements
Yoga and Ayurveda help to balance these elements for fine-tuning of the body. Yoga allows one to purify these elements and restore equilibrium and health, and to strengthen the inner forces and abilities found in each element. There is an easy and powerful technique within yoga to balance these elements, the answer is mudras; are special hand movements that are used to trigger a range of forces and abilities, typically to affect various parts of the brain or body. Some powerful mudras are Apaan Vaayu or Mritsanjeevani Mudra, Akash Mudra, Vaayu Mudra, Pran Mudra, etc.
There are also different yoga postures that are meant to balance these elements. Mountain Pose (Tadasana), Tree Pose (Vrikshasana), Childs’ Pose (Balasana) helps in balancing the earth element. Bound Angle Pose (Badhakonasana), Frog Pose (Mandukasana), Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) are meant to balance water element. Easy Pose (Sukhasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) balances air elements. Sun Salutation, Tiger Pose (Vyagrasana), Chair Pose (Utkatasana) works best for fire element. Yoga asanas for space elements are Lion Pose (Simhasana), Camel Pose (Ushtrasana), Corpse Pose (Shavasana).
Yoga poses are intended to create harmony and balance Physical, functional, emotional, spiritual & psychological body by balancing the panchmahabhutas.
Ayurveda explains that combinations and permutations of these five elements are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha that manifest as patterns present in all life. Vata is the subtle energy of movement within the human body, Pitta is the energy of digestion and metabolism, and Kapha is the energy that shapes the structure of the body