Yoga and Five Elements

3 min read
By Ece Ozkan

According to Ayurvedic tradition, the world and everything within it is made up of five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. At Mandala Yoga, during the month of June we have been practising yoga sessions dedicated to these five elements. If you were wondering about these elements, how they relate to our yoga practice and to our day to day lives here is a short blog post for you 🙂

The energetic body


Five Elements

For starters, we need to highlight that each element is responsible for different structures in the body, and if there is any imbalance disease will occur.

“Earth forms solid structures, such as bones, flesh, skin, tissues, and hair. Water forms saliva, urine, semen, blood, and sweat. Fire forms hunger, thirst, and sleep. Air is responsible for all movement, including expansion, contraction, and suppression. Space forms physical attraction and repulsion, as well as fear.” Yoga Journal


Earth is soil and everything that is solid, related to the basic survival needs such as grounding, stability, safety and security. It is associated with the Root Chakra at the base of the spine at the coccyx, low back, abdomen, adrenal glands (stress response), the neck, knees.

Any imbalance in the grounding needs, such as worrying about money, your house or job may surface in the body as lower back or neck pain. This one hits home as I experienced it on the first day of my Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). It was a particularly stressful time at work and I had a heated argument with a close friend on that day. The next day, which was the first day of the training, I woke up with a horrible pain in the lower back and literally could not get up from the bed for about 10 minutes. 

To balance it out: slow down, engage with physical activities that are grounding and earth related like gardening, hiking, or certain yoga poses like Tadasana (Mountain pose) and Vrikasana (Tree pose).


Water is all about fluidity. It is related to our ability to adapt and move with the changing tides. It arises from the Sacral Chakra which is located at the sacrum. Its reflex areas include the chest/breasts, shoulder blades, sacral belly, bladder, spleen, lymphatic system, reproductive system… Any exhausting activity in this chakra will have an impact on these areas in particular, as well as your entire system. For instance, if you are feeling abandoned or overwhelmed in a relationship, it may reflect on your shoulder blades, immune issues due to clogged lymphatics, menstrual pain. 

To balance it out: Getting outside and relaxing near open water, or even taking a relaxing bath can help open your second chakra. Apart from a fluid yoga practice, several Cat/ Cows, hip opening poses, Pigeon and Mermaid poses are also great ways to bring your water element back to balance. 


Fire element arises from the Solar Plexus Chakra which is located in the region of the solar plexus. Reflex areas such as the head, forehead, eyes, mid-back, thighs, liver.  This element, and the chakra it relates to, is related to our personal power, passions, inner strength, commitment and inspiration. It is usually associated with anger, rage, frustration. For instance, if you are in a situation in which you feel you have no control over, “it may show up physically as an ulcer or migraine headaches.” 

To balance it out: Engage in expressive/ inspiring activities like painting, or a calming meditation. To connect with your fire element you can try breaking some sweat with yoga poses like Plank, Navasana (Boat pose), or Handstand. 


The Air element speaks to our ability to move and expand freely. Air involves qualities of movement, lightness, mental acuity. In the body it arises from the Heart Chakra which  is located in the heart region with reflex areas at the shoulder tops, thymus, mid-back and kidneys. Our breath or life force (prana) is also associated with this element, hence vital for sustaining life. 

To balance it out: Practice different pranayama or breathing exercises as well as yoga poses such as Cobra, Locust, or Bow pose.

5.Ether (Space)

Ether energies arise from the Throat Chakra which  is located in the region of the throat. The ether energy is connected to the top of the head, midline, body cavities (i.e. lungs, bladder, mouth), thyroid, neck, skin, joints. Ether is directly associated with connection and includes feelings such as fear and acceptance.

To balance it out: Savasana (Corpse pose) and seated meditation can help one tuning in and connecting. Some others that help us connect with this element are Camel, Fish, Wild Thing.

As we went through different elements above, we saw how everything is connected physically and mentally. Knowing more about these elements and how they impact us, helps us understand our mind-body connection better.

P.S. As part of the International Yoga Day efforts, we have a special yoga class on June 21st. All proceeds will go to Aware to support mental health services in the community. You can sign up here to join us!