February Focus: The five elements (pancha mahabhuta)
According to the tradition of yoga, the whole creation consists of and is governed by five elements – earth (prithvi), water (apas), fire (agni), air (vayu) και aether (akasha). Each element is the manifestation of primal cosmic energy (Shakti). The whole world is constantly changing because these elements coexist and combine with each other in infinite ways. Those 5 elements are called Pancha (5) Tattwas. Tattwa could be translated as “the essence that makes you feel you exist.”
The stability and integrity of the earth, the fluidity and versatility of water, the heat and transformative power of fire, the mobility of air and the sensation of aether and of the all-inclusive space…
According to Tantric Philosophy, the macrocosm coexists in the microcosm. As a result, the law of cosmic manifestation and destruction is inherent in every being. Just as the physical and mental characteristics of a person coexist in the same DNA molecule, the molecular structure of a person holds the archetype of all the cosmic activities. Human is a miniature of the universe. These five elements are considered the fundamental ingredients of every person and represent the most delicate aspects of our being.
For example, at the physical body level, earth is manifested through the organs, the bones, the muscles, the skin etc. Earth is the stable, focused mind or the stable feelings and desires. These are the qualities that we explore during our practice. The purification and transformation of these subtle elements that synthesize the body and mind are an essential part of yoga. Understanding the five elements in our practice and in our daily activities can help us find balance, harmony and health in our life.
By Anastasia Biliri,
οf the Neda Yoga Shala Team