The Five Elements of Ayurveda

The Five Elements of Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, the five elements are discussed but are more like philosophical concepts rather than elements in the scientific sense. They are the basic principles of the universe and therefore represent 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

These elements can be assigned to different regions in the body and are each connected the five senses. Joined together as pairs, they can manifest in a Dosha, known as a body's constitution.  


Earth (Prthvi)

The earth element, represents the solid state of matter and along with water, is actually responsible for the physical constitution of the body. Bones, teeth, and tissues are all 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 it indicates change or instability. Water is responsible for the fluid metabolism in the body, therefore 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 fire element represents form without substance and it 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. It indicates mobility and dynamic. In the body the wind element is responsible for the respiratory system and necessary 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. It relates to all hollow or empty places in the body, such as all our channels, pores and the ears that perceive sound. Together with the air, this element forms the Vata Dosha.

So what's your element?