Ayurveda as you know is a holistic health science from India but more than that it comes from two Sanskrit terms – Ayus and Veda. Ayus being life the totality of all it is, everything that surrounds us. And Veda which is wisdom. At the heart of Ayurveda is nature and we look at Ayurveda as a way of understanding nature!
Once we understand nature then we understand the way our body works and the world works. We could begin to use this information to create health through our choices in food, how we sleep, our lifestyle and what do we do during the day.
Ayurveda is the way of reaching your highest potential. When you live in line with Ayurvedic principles that generate health for you, you are able to create a world free of symptoms and reach your highest potential. At the foundation of Ayurveda, we find the five element theory.
Ether is the space in which everything else exists
Without space in our digestive system food can’t move through our digestive system. Without space in our ears, we are unable to hear anything. All of the elements come from the sense of space. In our body, we have space in the hollow organs in the digestive system, in the ears and it’s because of that space they function. When there is too little space we can’t hear and we can’t digest. So we all need to have an appropriate amount of space in the body.
Air is the principle of movement
Once you create a space, space does not stay empty for long something moves into it and that’s something is the element of air.As air moves into the ether it begins the move things around. We have air in our body everything that moves in our body moves because of air. Everything that moves out in the world moves because of air. We have air in the movement of circulation. Blood flowing through our veins is moved by the energy of air. Respiration, we move air, we move breath with the energy of air. Anything at movement in the body moves through because of air. Now we understand air, we can begin to look at and understand movement in the body. When things are moving too quickly we experience disease and discomfort. When things are moving too slowly we experience disease and discomfort. Our goal then is to have things moving through the body move at a pace that is appropriate for the body and is appropriate for the work of the organ or the system that is moving.
Fire is about transformation
Changing from one thing to the other. As fire transforms we are able to digest the food. We have fire in the belly that’s our digestive fire. We have fire in our minds and this is our ability to transform our sensory input into thoughts, emotions, and opinions. We do it because of the conceptive fire. When the fire is too strong we may experience excess heat in the body and that can be uncomfortable. We could burn up tissue, we could dry out. When we have too little heat in the body we may feel cold and our chemical reaction may happen too slowly. So we want to have an appropriate amount of heat in the body for what’s going on we want a good fire in the digestive system when we are digesting food and not so much fire at other times. We want a good fire in our mind when we are thinking and planning, and organizing, and what we do up only is highly critical that we can’t clearly see what is happening around us.
Water signifies flow and fluidity
We have water in our body, we have waters of the body, and we are 80% water by weight. So as we look at the concept of the water, water contains fire. Water holds that fire and is able to, we are able then to transform into a more fluidic or flow from one thing into the next. We literally have water containing fire, when we think about the hydrochloric acid in the digestive enzymes. They are fluidic but they hold the fire within them. Our blood is water and then it flows through our system but it carries that vital oxygen which is going to awaken and enliven the work of the cell. So we have the fire contained in the water. When we understand the water element we start to look at those waters of our body. Do I hold too much water and I have got swelling? Do I hold too little water and I have got dryness and destruction of organs? I want to have an appropriate amount of water for what I need to accomplish.
Earth is the concept of solidity and stability
Everything that has continued to form, everything that has form is said to have an earth element that is responsible for the making of that form and holding that form over time. We think of the earth of the body, it’s the tissues of the body, those things that have shape and form and are very stable. So the skin, the organs, the muscle, the bones all of these have a good degree of earth element. The earth element in our mind is the part of our mind that allows us to be connected to our past and our present. When we have too little earth we may feel ungrounded and unstable.
What are we eating? When we are eating? How we are eating? All of these principles work together to help us maintain our health.
We maintain our health by the foods we eat. If we need more earth elements, we want our foods to be heavy and dense. If we want more water elements, we want our food to be moist. If we want more fire elements, we want our foods to be well spiced. For air element, we want our foods to be light and dry and when we need more ether element, we may want to fast for a time and put nothing in the digestive system.
We can take that understanding of nature and allow it to become our understanding of how we create and maintain our health.