The Elements

Vedic teachings have at their basis the notion that the universe is composed of the five elements or panchamahabhutas (earth, water, fire, air and ether). It is said that these elements form a symphony that hold the universe in harmony. Our Ayurvedic “fingerprint” is said to be based, in part, on the way in which these elements combine in our bodies.


  • Provides structure for objects
  • Rocks and soil, providing stable foundation for roots
  • Skeletal system, tissues, cells
  • Steadiness, static energy, and groundedness


  • Flowing motion that “nurtures and sustains life”
  • Snow, river, sea
  • Blood, lymph, liquid
  • Eliminates waste and circulates nutrients
  • Emotion, vitality, life


  • Transformation
  • Combustion of solid to liquid and liquid to gas
  • Fire of sun
  • Creation and destruction
  • Digestion and metabolism
  • Mental perception and processing


  • Movement
  • Creativity and adaptability
  • Oxygen, wind
  • Coordination, nervous system, respiratory system, creative thinking
  • Movement, change, tolerance


  • Space for other elements to exist
  • Space between objects, allowing for distinction between forms
  • Gaseous clouds, earth’s atmosphere
  • Spaces within pelvis, mouth, ears, nostrils, abdomen and respiratory tract
  • Sounds, consciousness, inner knowledge, and peace

In the article 5 Ways to Apply the Elements of Ayurveda to Your Life, Sylvia Mordini shares how she applies the “5-element theory” to her life:

  1. I begin each day by grounding myself into the earth element so I feel peaceful and calm.
  2. I cleanse my mind and body through the water element.
  3. I stoke the power to recreate my life through the fire element and set clear intentions for myself.
  4. I appreciate and embrace the newness of the air element all around me with each breath serving as a fresh start. The breath is a reminder of unconditional love.
  5. I appreciate new possibilities through the ether element. I stoke my intentions without seeing evidence of things unseen.

Life in terms of the Elements

This interview with Saul David Raye is called 5 Elements, 5 Questions, and is courtesy of The Alchemy of Being website. You might consider using these fantastic questions in a workshop or other teaching format.

I) EARTH: What grounds you?
Family life, walking barefoot and being in nature.

II) WATER: What moves you?

III) FIRE: What ignites you? What inspires you?
Love. Moving deeper into Love.

IV) AIR: What are you grateful for?
In this moment I am grateful for this question to remind me of how grateful I am for my life, my family my work, this earth and my breath.

V) SPACE: (Please complete the sentence) Space is not nothing, space is ……everything. AUM