The Universe Within: Yoga & the five elements

We are often guided into savasana and meditation with the instruction to ‘scan the inner landscapes of the body and mind.’ This can be a very visual, palpable and sensory-rich way of identifying your state body, emotions and mind. Ancient texts on yoga map the elements onto different parts of the body, which is really useful for biomechanically knowing what we are physically asking of the body to do for a healthy strong yoga asana.

Ayurveda is the sister ‘science’ of yoga that supports health and vitality of the individual. As a holistic branch of medicine, it looks at every level of your multi dimensional self. As I go into on Yoga Therapy based workshops, yoga practice and Ayurveda addresses the five ‘sheaths of being’: the physical body - anamayakosha; the breath/vital air/prana body - pranamayakosha; mind body - manomayakosha; wisdom body vijnamayakosha; bliss body anandamayakosha.

Approaching the individual as a microcosm of the world we live within and from, health is seen as a balance of the five elements. The five elements in Ayurveda are different from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) elements that those in my Yang and Yin classes will be familiar with. In Ayurveda they are: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether. These elements correspond to the chakras, described as wheels or vortex’s of energy spinning at varying frequencies (lower body; slower vibrations, speeding up to the highest frequency at the crown of the head).