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The Five Elements of Health

Updated: Jun 12, 2021

Healing is getting back to our natural self. Ayurveda notes that we are all completely and utterly brilliantly different and so is our journey away from and towards good health.

It is important to note that good health and poor health are completely part of Nature's rhythms. I love Ajahn Brahm's advice that we should go to the doctor and say 'something is right with me!' not 'something is wrong with me'. It is not the time to beat ourselves up when we are already not feeling our best. So a little kindness even in the way we think about our ailing body can go a long way towards recovering our energy and sense of self.

Ayurveda's definition of wellness may differ from the traditionally held definition of wellness. In Ayurveda the Sanskrit word for health is svasthya. It translates as 'being rooted in the self'. When we are in our natural state of being and are supporting that original and inherent combination of all the Five Elements within our own body (prakriti), we experience true health and wellbeing, which is svasthya.

Being rooted in the self, Ayurveda says, is the best way towards an advantageous life and a happy, healthy mind.

The aim of Ayurveda is to bring balance to all the factors of the body - body, mind and senses.

Ether Element - What is the most subtle change that could be brought into your health practices? If you took a day to quieten - what would your inner voice let you know that was truthful, brutally honest, supportive and caring?

Water Element - What emotional state is most beneficial moving forward? Should we work on opening the heart? Finding stability? Receiving calm? Cultivating inner peace?

Fire Element - What way of thinking could open up an avenue to healing? Is assertion or letting go the way forward? Fierceness or compassion? Going inward or looking outward. Being reflective or striving for the next step on the journey?

Wind Element - What is the most beneficial change/adjustment to start with? For most of us, ill health can be a sticky matter. Unknotting vata, pitta and kapha dosha is difficult. Most of us have all three dosha involved in our symptoms - but where to start? Which loose thread sticking out as a symptom should we pull on first to loosen the next part of the knot and get to the deeper issues underneath?

Earth Element - What is the manifestation of imbalance for you? Which symptoms are peaking out of the ocean of elements that have formed the iceberg underneath? Of the many symptoms that come and go - which symptoms are at the heart of the disturbance?

Ayurveda looks at all the Elements (invisible roots, the most important changes to make first, the mind, emotions and last of all the physical symptoms) when taking stock of the situation requiring support.

The Five Elements of treatment can be used in service to the Five Elements above:

  • Diet

  • Lifestyle

  • Medicinal foods/supplements

  • Massage

  • Movement/Yoga

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