The 5 Elements

In Ayurveda the five elements are philosophical concepts rather than elements in the scientific sense of the word. They are the basic principles of the universe and as such the primary components of all living things.

The 5 Elements in Ayurveda are:

  • Earth, the principle of inertia
  • Water, the principle of cohesion
  • Fire, the principle of radiance
  • Wind, the principle of vibration
  • Ether, the principle of pervasiveness

Those elements can be assigned to different regions in the body and connected to one of the five senses. Each two of them manifest in a Dosha.


Earth (“Prthvi”)

The earth element, represents the solid state of matter and along with water is responsible for the physical constitution of the body. Bones, teeth, and tissues are considered as earth elements. Earth connects to the nose and the sense of smell. Water and Earth form the Kapha Dosha.


Water (“Ap”)

Water represents the liquid state of matter and indicates change or instability. Water is responsible for the fluid metabolism in the body and so blood, lymph and other fluids are considered as water elements. Water connects to the tongue and the sense of taste. Water is the dominant element in the Kapha Dosha.


Fire (“Tejas”)

The element of fire represents the form without substance and has the power to transfer the state of any substance. In the body it is responsible for digestion and perception and connected to the eyes and therefore sight. Fire is the dominant element in the Pitta Dosha.


Wind (“Vayu”)

Wind or air represents the gaseous state of matter and indicates mobility and dynamic. In the body the wind element is responsible for the respiratory system and neccessary for all energy transfers as air is the key element needed for fire to burn. Wind connects to the skin which perceives touch. Air is the dominant element in the Vata Dosha.


Ether (“Akasa”)

The element of ether represents the space in which everything takes place. In the body it relates to all hollow or empty places in the body, like channels and pores and the ears that perceive sound. Together with the air element ether forms the Vata Dosha.

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