Elemental Theory

Everything in the universe, including us, are made up of the 5 elements – humans are a microcosm of the macrocosm – although everything has its own unique combination of the 5 elements.


Hot, Sharp, Intense, Bright


Liquid, Moist, Soft, Cold


Light, Still, Clear, Cold, Abundant


Light, Irregular, Mobile, Cold


Heavy, Dense, Solid, Thick

elemental life ether


For anything to exist it requires ether or space.  In the macrocosm, space is required for anything to grow or move, and the other elements are only able to perform their function if the space element is there.  Same is true in the body and mind. 

Physical – Blood to fill the arteries, food to move in the digestive tract, nerve conduction to take place, digestive juices and enzymes to get secreted, breathing to take place, our waste such as stool, urine and sweat to be eliminated, and so on.  These functions will continue uninterrupted as long as enough space is there. When space is constricted, these functions get affected e.g. when we eat too much, we start feeling discomfort in our stomach, which is a sign there is no space to digest the food properly. 

Mental – Thoughts to exist or be created, space for clarity, stillness, and calmness of the mind. When space is constricted, e.g. when our mind is full of worries, we start to feel there is a buildup of pressure in our heads with no space to think straight, which can lead to stress, anxiety and depression. 

elemental life air


Everything that moves in the universe is governed by the air element. Without air things would remain static and die. Same is true in the body and mind. 

Physical – responsible for movement of blood, movement of food in the digestive system, elimination of waste products, movement of body, breathing. 

Mental – responsible for development of ideas, analysis of thoughts, creativity, imagination, enthusiasm. When the Air element is in balance in the human body, it will perform all its functions smoothly, but when aggravated in the body it can lead to problems such as breathing difficulties, asthma, gas, constipation, cold hands and feet, dry skin. 

Imbalance at the mental level can lead to insomnia, fatigue and anxiety.

elemental life fire


We can see the fire of the sun providing heat and the transformation of food for all plants and trees. Same in the human body. 

Physical – responsible for all metabolic functions such as digestion and body temperature, skin colour, eyesight and immunity 

Mental – responsible for mental digestion, clarity, stability, courage, strength and energy. When in balance, all functions will go well, but the moment fire gets out of hand it can create major destruction both in the environment, and body/mind.  This is why the digestive fire is of great importance in Ayurveda.  When this is imbalanced, it can lead to major health problems such as hyper-acidity, ulcers, bleeding, diarrhoea, IBS, skin problems and inflammation. 

At a mental level imbalance can manifest as irritability, jealousy, anger, hatred and stress.

elementa life water


Water protects against the roughness of the air element and the heat of the fire element. It provides moistness, softness and nourishment to everything in the Universe. In the body, it is responsible for: 

Physical – holds nutrients as they are delivered to the cells, and toxins are removed through the lymph and circulatory systems. The water element also lubricates the joints, muscle tissues and mucosal linings in the body. All the senses need the water element to work well. The softness in tissue is due to the water element. 

Mental – Responsible for memory and desire.

Too much water can cause water accumulation in bodily tissues, sluggish digestion, oedema and congestion to name but a few, too little water and everything dries up which can cause constipation, muscle, tissue, organ and bone degeneration among many other problems. When the lubrications and juices of the mind dry up, so too does vibrant and clear thought. Headaches, migraines, dementia, Alzheimer’s all have a degree of water imbalance to them.

elemental life earth


Stability, structure and strength are the key components both in the environment and the body. 

Physical – dominates bones, muscles, cartilage, nails, hair, teeth and skin.

Mental – provides stability, stillness and groundedness.

When imbalanced in the body, the earth element can lead to osteoporosis, dental caries, heaviness, excessive weight gain, tumours, cysts and fibroids. 

In our mind, too much of the earth element makes us feel dull, slow and can lead to over-sleeping, confusion and depression.  Too little, and we become light-headed, dizzy, anxious.