What are the Five Elements? The Elements of Ayurveda
Understanding Every Fiber of Your Being; The Elements of Ayurveda
Ayurveda dates back to the Vedic Philosophy around five thousand years ago. It’s been practiced in India for several centuries and it’s referred to as the science of life. In this traditional medicine of understanding body types, the universe is created through a cause and effect exchange between two primary forces known as Purusha (the soul or the self) and Prakriti (the nature of your energy).
In our everyday lives we experience a physical manifestation of the motor pathways of the body known as the three gunas:
Sattva– associated with purity, wholesomeness, and virtue. It’s the mind and the senses.
Tamas – associated with lethargy, darkness, ignorance, destruction, and chaos. This force creates the 5 elements of earth, air, fire, water, and ether.
Rajas– associated with passion, energy, and movement. This vital force that starts up the two other gunas (sattva and tamas)
The goal of Ayurveda is to understand the true nature of oneself through our body type and our way of thinking—our mental state and decision-making process. Ayurveda is tied in deeply with the earth and we inherently adopt its qualities. Those qualities are which you might be familiar with are ether, air, fire, water, and earth. Before going into what kind of dosha you are, it is important to understand the fundamentals of these elements. It the building blocks of what life is made up as and our cycles of life.
Understanding the Elements to Discover Your Dosha
Ether: Is space, air, and emptiness. It’s cold because it lacks warmth created from fire. It is also light as it lacks the heaviness created by earth and water. It’s our spirit. In our food it’s fasting (taking long breaks in between meals).
Air: It’s called Vayu in Sanskrit. Its qualities are creativity, our thoughts, and ideas, expanding to our nervous and respiratory system and even our coordination. It represents movement, change, and tolerance. In food it’s fiber.
Fire: It’s qualities are hot, light, dry, flowing, sharp, soft, and clear. In our body, the fire element governs our digestion and metabolism. It structures our way of processing and perceiving thoughts.
Water: It’s qualities are soft, heavy, cool, stable, moist, smooth, flowing, and dull. It represents emotions, vitality, and life. It’s carbohydrates and fats that is like cohesion; nurturing energy.
Earth: It gives the structure for all inanimate and animate objects in the universe. Therefore, it is found in rocks and soil, known as a foundation. Being grounded. Earth is cool, stable, dry, heavy, hard, and clear. It’s the proteins and minerals that make up our body.
The elements of Ayurveda make up our body constitution called doshas. They are broken down into 3 types. We usually are predominant with one in particular. Here is a brief explanation of these doshas.
Vata: It’s dry and light and made up of ether and air. This type is more prone to deficiency. This body type is usually thin, dry skin and hair. These types usually love to travel but they are worrywarts.
Pitta: It’s prominently working with the fire and water element. It represents transformation and change. They have a thin athletic build and more muscular definition. This dosha represents the mind. Well thought out processes, intelligence, and clarity. Pitta likes to eat spicy foods.
Kapha: It works with the water and earth element that brings nourishment and stability within the body. It governs lubrication, fat regulation, sleep, and energy. It maintains all body fluids. Kaphas tend to have a heavier build and a slower metabolism. They have thick lustrous hair and are quite adverse to change.
Stay tuned for next week’s article about discovering your dosha type and things that body type should eat and what to avoid.
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