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Understanding the 5 Elements Theory- the 20 Attributes - and the 3 Doshas




The 5 Elements Theory 


Ayurveda describes everything in the physical world, including our physical body in terms of the five elements: Ether/Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. These elements are seen as the building blocks of all creation. Each element has it’s own unique makeup and qualities that are represented both in nature and the physical body. Once we have an understanding of these underling principles of Ayurveda, we can begin to understand how to bring balance back into our lives.


Examples in nature:

Space examples in Nature  Air examples in Nature  Fire examples in Nature  Water examples in Nature  Earth examples in Nature 

Space

Air

Fire

Water

Earth

...as seen in the open sky. Has the qualities of cold, light, clear, subtle, sharp and flowing. It is the idea of connectedness. Space allows for all other things to have a place to take form and exist within.  ...we don’t see air, but we can feel it as the wind blows on us. Has the qualities of dry, light, clear, cold, hard, rough, mobile. Air is the force behind all movement.  ...as seen in a campfire or the radiant sun. Has the qualities of hot, subtle, mobile, dry, hard and sharp. Fire is the idea of heat, light and transformation.  ...as seen in the ocean. Has the qualities of cold, mobile, heavy, soft, gross, static, smooth and cloudy. Water is the idea of flow and liquidity. Cohesiveness.
...as seen in a giant redwood tree.  Has the qualities of cold, dry, hard, heavy, solid, stable, dense and rough. Earth is the idea of stability and solidity.

  

Examples in the body:

Space

Air

Fire

Water

Earth

...represents awareness and expansiveness. It is what connects us to everything. In the body it creates empty spaces or cavities that quickly get filled by the other elements. In the mind space represents consciousness.  ...represents movement throughout our body. It helps with circulation, nerve impulses, movement of the joints, and the breath. In the mind air moves our thoughts and emotions. ...represents light, heat and transformation. It helps to regulate our digestive system and metabolism. In the mind it brings clear perception and discernment.  ...represents fluid. Plasma, urine, salvia, sweat, any body fluids. In the mind it brings in feelings of attachment, love and compassion.  ...represents the physical structure. The skeletal system, muscles, hair and organs. In the mind it brings mental stability and structure to our life. 



"As we open up to seeing everything around us and within us as having the 5 elements
and their qualities, we begin to understand and see through the lens of Ayurveda.
Allowing us to heal our own body and mind by understanding the qualities
our symptoms are manifesting."





The 20 Attributes of Matter ~ The Key to Understanding Nature ~

Hot/Cold   Soft/Hard
Static/Mobile Gross/Subtle
Moist/Dry Smooth/Rough
Dull /Sharp Dense/Flowing
Heavy/Light Cloudy/Clear
 
Understanding these 10 pairs of opposites will help you to better be able to work with
your own symptoms within your body and mind.



"Remember we heal by bringing in the opposite quality that we are experiencing in our body and mind." 



A simple example: If a person wants to lose a few pounds,
they would want to eat more fruits and vegetables (light)
and not cheese, pasta and breads. (Heavy)






Understanding the Three Doshas

Vata - Air and Ether Pitta - Fire and Water Kapha - Earth and Water

Vata

Air and Ether

Pitta

Fire and Water

Kapha

Earth and Water
Vata means 'that which moves thing.' Vata dosha is the motivating force behind the other two doshas, which are incapable of movement without it; therefore it is responsible for all movement within the body and mind.
Pitta means, “that which digest things’. The Pitta dosha is responsible for digestion and metabolism both in the body and mind. It creates our capacity to digest our food as well as perceive reality and understand the world around us.
Kapha means 'that which holds things together.' Kapha dosha provides support, stability and lubrication in the body. In the mind it our emotional support in life, and relates to positive emotional traits like love, compassion, patience, and forgiveness.

Main Qualities:

Cold, Light, Dry, Rough, Mobile, Hard, Sharp, Subtle

Main Qualities:

Hot, Dry, Light, Sharp, Slightly Oily, Unstable

Main Qualities:

Cold, Moist, Heavy, Stable, Dull, Gross, Smooth, Dense, Soft, Smooth, Static

The Gifts of Vata when balanced are:

creative, imaginative, spontaneous, flexible, enthusiastic, artistic, strong healing energy.

The Gifts of Pitta when balanced are:

well-organized, perceptive, critical thinkers, discernment, detailed oriented, good leaders and guides.

The Gifts of Kapha when balanced are:

strong study nature, calm, compassionate, loyal, methodical, loving, consistent, devoted to friends and family.

Body Structure:

Long Bones, Narrow oblong face with small eyes, nose and lips, dry hair and skin, thinner skin, minimal musculature 

Body Structure:

Angular with strong features, Deep set eyes with medium nose and lips, rosy or red complexion, hair turns early grey, medium thickness of skin, moderate and well defined musculature

Body Structure:

Round face and soft features, larger eyes, nose lips, heavier denser bones, full dense hair, soft moist skin, gains weight easy.

Body Function:

Variable appetite and digestion, irregular bowel movements, tendency towards gas and bloating, sleeps light, cold hands and feet.

Body Function:

Good Appetite, strong digestion, may tend towards heart burn, regular bowel movements, may be loose, sleeps well unless it’s too hot.

Body Function:

Low appetite, slow, sluggish digestion, heavy or sleepy after eating, sleeps deeply and hard to get going in the morning, tends towards mucus and respiratory problems.
When out of balance the air and ether qualities can create the following symptoms within the body: Worry, anxiety, fear, overwhelm, dry skin, constipation, pain, headaches, arthritis, nervous disorders, tremors, coldness, insomnia, weight loss. When out of balance the fire and water qualities can create the following symptoms within the body: Anger, resentment, critical of others, jealousy, overachiever, opinionated, diarrhea, fever, skin rashes, acid reflux, ulcers, liver disease. When out of balanced the water and earth qualities can create the following symptoms within the body: Possessive, controlling, stubborn, lethargic, lacks inspiration, overly sensitive, increased mucus and respiratory problems, swelling,weight gain.