The 5 Ayurvedic Elements - Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether - Introduction to Ayurveda Salt Lake City
Ayurvedic Elements - Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether - Introduction to Ayurveda
Thousands of years ago, the original Ayurvedic scholars, called "rishis," observed that everything in nature, including ourselves, is made of five ayurvedic elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. While these elements are not to be taken literally (rather, they are metaphors for all the molecules and energies that make up our universe), we can find health and harmony in our lives by observing and working to balance these elements through Ayurvedic diet, lifestyle, and daily habits/practices.
Here is an overview of what those elements might look like in your mind and body. When these elements come together, they are called the Ayurvedic "doshas." You can read more about the doshas here.
The Earth Element = Structure and Stability
The earth element is what gives everything shape and form--anything you can touch or feel contains the earth element. In the body, earth gives us our form and shape. It gives rise to all of our bodily tissues. In the mind, earth brings stability.
When we have too much earth element in the body, we will have too much tissue (weight gain). When we have too much earth in the mind, it leads to dullness and lethargy. Conversely, when you have deficient earth element in your body, you will also be deficient in tissue. When you have deficient earth in the mind, you will experience instability and have difficulty maintaining information.
The Water Element = Moisture and Flow
The water element gives rise to all substances that contain or involve moisture. In the body water represents all bodily fluids, specifically the lymphatic and interstitial fluids. The water element is also involved in byproducts and waste fluids like mucous, sweat, urine, tears, breast milk, and male and female reproductive fluids.
The water element In the mind is involved in flow, which allows you to flow from one task to another in your day and allows you to experience a healthy flow of thoughts. When we have excessive water element in the body, you might experience swelling, or edema, and excess fluid production.
In the mind, excess water element will manifest in excessive emotional flow (ex. excessive tears and even excessively deep feelings of sadness). When water is deficient in the body, we will experience dry mucous membranes and tissues. In the mind, deficient water element will show up as an inability to "flow"--or an emotional "dryness" of sorts. This could be seen in an inability to form emotional attachments.
The Fire Element = transformation/metabolism/clarity
The Fire Element is involved in anything that produces heat. The fire element, therefore, is involved in digestive fire, and metabolism in the body at both the gross and cellular level,
The fire element gives you the ability to transform food into healthy bodily tissue. In the mind, fire element gives you the ability to transform sensory input into clear concepts and to discern and experience clarity.
In excess, the fire element produces too much heat, or inflammation, in the body. This could manifest in your metabolism processing food and energy too quickly. It can potentially "eat up" tissue when it runs out of fuel and cause symptoms like redness, heat/fever, and/or weight loss.
Excess fire in the mind results in angry emotions, intensity around work and projects, and criticism of others. Laci of fire element in the body can cause coldness, sluggishness, and even weight gain. In the mind, deficient fire element will cause lack of clarity and discernment, making deciding things difficult, and motivation scarce.
The Air Element = Motion
The air element is involved in all movement in the universe. It is a unique element in that it is the only element that has innate movement, and can move around the other elements.
The Air Element, like the wind, has a variable nature to it. It is always changing. Becuase of this, the air element is inherently unstable.
The air element governs all the movement in the body: everything from nutrients and wastes moving in and out of cellular membranes, to blood circulating through your veins, to the movement of your limbs, to the movement of your thoughts, and especially the movement of food and waste through your digestive tract.
Excessive air element in the body can result in dryness and coolness (think of air evaporating sweat from your skin and cooling you off), nervous ticks and tremors, and variable digestive symptoms.
Excessive air element in the mind will usually result in agitation, "circling" thoughts, repetitive thought patterns, fear, anxiety, and worry.
If you don't have enough air element you might experience dullness, lethargy, and potentially slow reflexes. Deficient air in the mind will be reflected similarly as dullness, heaviness, and potential difficulty recalling concepts.
The Ether Element = Idea of "connectedness" / Space
The Ether Element is the container in which all of the other elements reside. It is the context within which the other f0ur ayurvedic elements assemble or manifest. You can think of the ether element as the "vacuum" of space. Ether element tends to have a diminishing effect on the other elements.
As an example, the ether element increases in you as you age. Think about the changes aging brings about. Your hair grows thinner, your skin and bones grow thinner/diminish, Your mind becomes more unstable.
It follows, then, when the ether element accumulates in the body, we have weaker and drier tissues; when it accumulates in the mind, we become ungrounded, unfocused, and spacey. When we don't have enough in the body, we become heavy and dull; when ether is deficient in the mind, we have trouble connecting concepts, connecting with others, and connecting with the Divine.
The Five Elements and the Doshas
The five elements come together to make up your unique constitution. They also come together to form the three, Ayurvedic Doshas.
Since we interact with the world and elements around us, it is inevitable that we will accumulate too much of one or more elements or become deficient in them throughout our day, throughout the seasons, and throughout our lifetimes.
Ayurveda seeks to teach us about ourselves so that we can take responsibility for our health and bring ourselves back into balance through diet, lifestyle, daily habits, and remembering that we are Nature--we are Divine.
In your 2-hour Initial Ayurvedic Consultation and 50-min Report of Findings, we will determine the unique combination of elements in you--at birth and in the current moment. We will give you the tools you need to bring yourself back into balance--to heal yourself from the inside-out.
Combinations of all the elements make up all of nature, including our bodies and minds. Each one of us has all five elements in different combinations. The elements make up the three, Ayurvedic doshas, or the fundamental energy in the universe and in our bodies and minds. Each of us has a unique balance of these elements and doshas at conception, or birth. These energies tend to go out of balance at different times in our lives due to environmental factors, such as diet, lifestyle, climate, relationships, daily habits, and even thought patterns.
The Five Elements of Ayurveda Are: Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Ether. Everything in nature that can be said to exist are comprised of these five basic elements. Ayurveda seeks to restore balance to the individual through balance of the five Ayurvedic Elements.
To learn more about the five Ayurvedic Elements, click here for a video by Meghan Hays Ayurveda Salt Lake City.
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Meghan Hays Ayurveda - Ayurveda Salt Lake City