Cleansing the 5 Elements


Everything that we see around us is made up of five fundamental elements – Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space (or Aakaash).  In the yogic sciences they are called as Pancha Bhutas.  Our body also has these five elements in certain percentages.  For example, 70% of our body is water.  How these five elements behave within us determine the well-being of our body, mind, emotion and energy.  Purifying these elements on a daily basis is essential for a well-balanced and healthy life.

Below are simple ways to purify these elements:

Earth: Our very body is earth. The food that we eat is assimilated in the body and transformed into energy.  So, food is life, and other life forms give up their lives to sustain us. If we are aware of this while eating and can eat with enormous gratitude, food will nurture us in many different ways. Eating with this awareness is key for the food to properly assimilate in our bodies.

As our body is earth itself it is important to stay in physical contact with the earth as much as possible.  If our palms and feet come in contact with the earth even for a few minutes everyday it harmonizes the physiological processes.

Water: Water makes up the largest percentage of our body. Water has memory.  Scientific experiments have shown that our thought, emotion, and touch can impact the molecular structure of the water.  Therefore, if we approach and treat water with the right emotions, it alters the way water behaves in our system.  Before drinking water, expressing gratitude to it brings a natural sense of equanimity and healthfulness.

Fire: The Sun is a ball of fire without which there would no life on the planet. The fire element in our body determines whether we are alive or not.  It accounts for about 4% of the elemental makeup, which is least in terms of composition but has a tremendous influence.  Various processes in our body like digestion are governed by this element.  How well the digestion happens depends on whether the fire element is in balance.  So, cleansing this element is integral for a life of vigor and vitality.  A simple process to cleanse the fire within is to get some sunlight every day.  In addition, lighting a lamp with vegetable oil and sitting facing the lamp for 3 minutes and then with the back to the lamp for another 3 minutes helps with the cleansing.

Air: Of all the elements, we feel air the most through our breath. The kind of air we breathe and how consciously we breathe makes a big difference. When the body senses that the air is pure, fresh and alive (as in a park or near a lake) the breath becomes deeper.  With this kind of exchange of air, cleansing automatically happens in the system. When the air is pure and fresh it is important to bring the breath to a dynamic state with some activity because it greatly enhances the body’s integrity and strength.  It need not be too vigorous of an activity but active enough to bring the breath to a dynamic state.  If activity is not possible then doing this simple yogic practice cleanses the breath –

Aakaash: The most expansive dimension of the elemental composition is Aakaash or Etheric SpaceThere is only a limited amount of water, air, earth, and fire, but the Aakaashic dimension is limitless.  There is not a whole lot of cleansing that can be done with this element, because for most of us it is not in our experience or perception. However, Aakaash has a certain intelligence, which if we are able to access can enhance our perception and intelligence.

Maintaining awareness of the type of food we choose and how we eat, how we treat water, the kind of air around us and how we breathe, how much sunlight we absorb on a daily basis can greatly enhance the stability and healthfulness of the body, mind and emotion.

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