5 Elements | P-TaK : Pancha Tattva Asana Kriya – Part II
Updated: Nov 29, 2021
In the previous article (link here), we shared knowledge on the theory of 5 elements and how they manifest in the universe and within us. Carrying forward from Earth element, in this article we explain Water, Fire, Wind and Space elements.
Constantly changing and always evolving, the element that brings flexibility to the rigid structure of Earth is Water. The second-last to manifest, Water element is responsible for the cohesive movement within the body without which it would be solid matter like a rock and inorganic in nature. All life depends on water, hence water is the very basis of the organic self being born in inorganic matter.
The idea of Self or Ego thrives in the birthing pools of Water. Water element forms the ego-complex of the Swadhistana Chakra, and like Water, Ego has no substantiality and is in constant flow. The idea of the self is different at the age of 5, 15, 25 and 45, for example. In fact, these big changes in the idea of the self are comprised of thousands of small changes. These changes to the self are happening every hour, every moment.
The primary idea of self is its gender. Gender is the very first reference frame for any individual which stays till his/her death. The idea of gender identity and sexual desires is controlled by the element of Water. Easily moved and is highly impressionable, a water dominant character can be easily manipulated. Water overcomes all obstacles with ease; rivers make their way around rocks. Similarly, Water character is extremely pliable and flexible in its way of being and can very easily adapt to almost any situation. Water character is jovial and has many friends. However, they lack the strength of character and intensity. Water dominant character tends to more attached than others due to the stickiness of Water.
Paschimottanasana – Water
Keep both legs straight
Flex the toes, pointing them towards the head
Keep the buttocks evenly balanced on the floor
Keep the chest open, back straight and stomach collapsed while bending down
If the forehead does not touch the leg, gaze at the toes
Improves the flexibility of the lumbar region, the hips and thigh (back side of thighs and calves).
Massages and tones the abdominal and pelvis region affecting liver, pancreas, kidneys, adrenals, spleen and intestines.
Improves the blood circulation in the dorsal region and tones the spinal nerves.
Improves alignment of the vertebral column.
Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana
Eka-Pada-RajaKapotasana – Water
Bend the hind leg at the knee, toe pointing upwards
Grab the toes with both palms, elbow pointing up
Open up the chest
Arch the back
Keep the head back and gaze at the ceiling
Eka-pada-rajakapotasana – Water
stretches the quadriceps,
tones the groins
releases and frees the psoas muscle area
stimulates the abdominal organs.
That which burns all, without prejudice, without discernment, intense in the extreme, in fact the very essence of all consuming intensity, is Fire. The intensity of Fire fuels the power of Action (Kriya Shakti). Perhaps the most important element of all, Fire is the sustainer of life.
The Fire dominant character, intense and spontaneous, is someone you don’t want to provoke. Unchecked Fire leads to bouts of anger and recklessness. It is Fire that drives the intention of leaders and innovators of our time. Passionate and intelligent, a balanced Fire character is able to channelize his/her desires to higher planes. At times of non-burning, the fiery character has the danger of falling into depression and the lows. The Fire dominant character goes through maximum pain, highs and lows, in comparison to those dominated by the other elements.
Bhujangasana – Fire
Keep the toes, heels, and legs together
Place the palms well on the floor,
The elbow is bent and raised from the floor (3-4”), close to the floating ribs (11th and 12th)
Navel should touch the ground
Keep the chin up
Gaze at the centre/ meeting point of the eyebrows
Bhujangasana – Fire
Cures acidity, indigestion and constipation.
Improves the function of pancreas and the gall bladder.
Helps to improve blood circulation.
Effective in uterine disorder.
Useful for those suffering from respiratory disorder such as asthma.
Helps to remove backache and neck ache as well as keeping the spine supple and healthy. By arching the spine blood circulation is increased to that region toning the nerves along the spinal column and improving the communication between the brain and the rest of the body.
Poorna Shalabhasana – Fire
Raise both legs as high as possible.
Keep the toes, heels, and legs together
Keep the Arms straightened, under the stomach and palms on the floor
Keep the chin pressed on the floor
Bend knees so as to touch the forehead with the toes
Poorna Shalabhasana – Fire
Strengthens shoulders and arms
Vitalises neck muscles
Develops core power
Develops dorsal muscles
Releases quadricpes & hamstring muscles
Sets the dislocated navel right, which could be the cause of pain in the stomach, loose motions or constipation
The Wind element signifies motion. Motion that fuels fire and can bring down trees. Wind is the very essence of Motion. Solar winds and the wind-storms of Jupiter are examples of the unimaginable power of the Wind Element. When we think speed, rapidity, onward movement, progress, blowing through obstacles, up, above and over, never stopping, this is the Power of Wind.
Wind dominant character possesses immense Prana (Life-force) power and is able to rapidly develop skills set. They carry a huge drive towards accomplishing objectives, but due to their fickle nature lose focus and are unable to make good of their rapid progress. Like the Wind, they are indecisive and unreliable. The fearless character of a Wind dominant person makes him/her an intense student on the path of Yoga. Balanced with Earth, it brings perseverance and stability in their efforts.
1. Padma Mayurasana
Mayurasana – PTaK
Keep the elbows together
Palms must be well pressed down on the floor
Keep the fingers pointing back towards the legs
Keep the forearms pressed together
Elbows must be well pressed against the navel centre
Maintain the body parallel to the floor
Mayurasana – PTaK
Mayoorasana tones the entire digestive system and revitalizes the internal organs
Its especial benefit is in preventing stenosis, due to age, damage or genetic propensities
Vitalises the liver, kidneys, pancreas and spleen.
Mayoorasana makes the digestive fire (BMR) so strong, that one can digest any type of food, reducing the production of toxins in the intestines due to undigested food. The BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is maintained at a level, where the body will have a low fat content, even into old age.
It is the most effective detoxification posture amongst all the Hatha Yoga asanas.
Parsva Kakasana – PTaK
Keep the palms well pressed on the floor
Spread out the fingers wide, and separated from each other
Keep the legs resting together on top of the upper arm
Gaze at the toes
Strengthens and tones the arms and shoulders.
Engages and improves muscles of the core.
Improves core balance and focus.
Helps to increase hand strength and wrist articulation.
Akasha/ Sky or Atmosphere
The Sky is the first to manifest; all encompassing and all the other Elements arise from it. Atmosphere is the very essence of life on our planet Earth and without atmosphere there would be no possibility for carbon based organic life forms on Earth. At the same time, the atmosphere touches space at its extremity, and space is completely inimical to all lifeform. Sky, or atmosphere acts as the bridge between the vastness and insentience of deep space, and the closeness and sentience of the Planet Earth. At the dividing line between life and death, but acting as the protector of all life, Sky with its mystic power, manifesting the other elementals from itself, reigns supreme.
Sky dominant character is detached and completely cut off from his/ her own everyday reality. Being lost in Space, these ‘spaced out’ people seem to be born into a world too gross for their comfort or proper functioning. His/her interest is in the aesthetic realms or of high strategy & discovery.
However, Sky character lacks practicality and is prone to ice-cold detachment. They are also prone to anxiety and fear arising out of no reason. The element Earth plays the balancing act with Sky character and establishes the necessary groundedness. Sky is associated with the eternally ascending life-force called Udana.
Sirsasana – PTaK
Interlock the fingers, elbows firmly placed at shoulder width on the floor
Set Crown of the head well pressed on the floor
Keep the spine straight
Maintain legs straight and placed together
Close the eyelids and relax the eyes
Good for internal blood circulation in the brain: The headstand pose can rejuvenate and revitalize the entire brain. Sirshasana directs an enriched oxygenated supply of blood to the brain cells and the billions of brain cells receive more nourishment.
Relieves Headache & Migraine: Sirshasana helps to relax and strengthen the compression of certain blood vessels in the brain thereby prevent the occurrence of these ailments. Note, however, that the sirshasana shouldn’t be done during the actual time of headache or migraine.
Control pituitary functions: Practicing sirshasana increases blood flow to the brain thereby revitalizes all the nervous system and the controller of the endocrine system, the pituitary. Thus, it acts like as panacea to rectify various types of glandular and nervous disorders.
Treat thyroid: It acts directly on the thyroid gland by balancing the metabolic functions. Malfunctioning of the thyroid can result in many ailments either directly or indirectly. The headstand pose helps to bring perfect health to this vital organ.
Improves vision: It improves the overall functions of eyesight, sense of smell and taste. The extra supply of blood during sirshasana helps to work the sensory organs perfectly. Various types of ailments such as myopia, astigmatism and catarrh can be reduced and even eradicated by the regular practice of sirsasana.
Skin complexion: The condition of the facial skin can also be improved through regular practice of sirshasana. Pimples and wrinkles are often caused by inadequate removal of waste materials and insufficient nourishment from the blood. Sirshasana directs an oxygen rich flow of blood to facial skin, thereby improving the facial complexion.
Removes lethargy: This asana is a tonic for those people who tire quickly. Aiding the cardiac cycle and oxygenating the blood quickly, Sirshasana vitalizes the body-mind complex rapidly.
Relives cold &cough: The lungs gain the power to resist any kind of climate and stand up to any work. Sirshasana is helpful in gaining relief from colds, coughs and tonsillitis.
RBC formation: Regular practice of sirshasana shows marked improvements in the hemoglobin content and therefore the overall oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.
Pincha-Mayurasana – PTaK
Place the Palms on the floor
Elbow should be in line with the shoulder and at 90°
Legs should be straight, together and perpendicular to the ground
Gaze between the palms
PinchaMayurasana – PTaK
Strengthens the arms and shoulders
Strengthens the abdominal area and is especially beneficial to the intestinal organs
Massages the heart and helps to expand the arterial elasticity
Opens the chest, increasing lung capacity
Increases core power and total body awareness/ balance
Increases brain area oxygenation
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