|According to Ayurvedic
texts, everything in nature is made up of a combination of the five
elements. These elements are: air,
space, fire, water, and earth. The
elements are much more than the physical element itself, they are symbolic
ideas to help us understand how the universe works. This week and next we’ll look at each of the elements and
what they represent.
-Air in Sanskrit is
Vayu. Air represents motion;
everything that moves in nature, from a delicate butterfly to earthquake, is
propelled by air, or wind. In our
body, air is the movement of our nerves, our breath, and our limbs. And in our mind, air is what moves our
thoughts. Air corresponds to our
sense of touch.
-Space, or Ether, in
Sanskrit is Akasha. This is the
space between things; it connects everything together. This is a very subtle element; we can’t
exactly see it, and yet we know it is there. In our body it is the empty space, and in our mind it is
consciousness. Space corresponds
to our sense of hearing, and it is also the tool with which we express our
-Fire in Sanskrit is
Tejas. Fire is both hot and
bright; heat and light. Fire
represents transformation, it is powerful, and it changes things. In the body, fire is responsible for
our digestion. In the mind, fire
governs our perception. Fire
corresponds to our sense of sight.
It also is evident in our feet, propelling us forward with fiery
-Water in Sanskrit is
Apas. Water is representative of
all liquids, it flows along the path of least resistance. In our body, water represents all of our
bodily fluids. In the mind, water,
like tears, represents our loving emotions. Water corresponds to our sense of taste.
-Earth in Sanskrit is
Prithvi. Earth represents what is
solid, and stable. This shows up
as many solid things in nature, such as wood, or metal. In our body, earth is our bone
structure. In our mind, earth is
our mental stability. Earth
corresponds to our sense of smell.