I am often asked "why is your yoga called FIVE YOGA?". The Five in FIVE YOGA refers to the five basic elements that everything and everyone is composed of. These five elements are Earth (Prithivi), Water (Apas), Fire (Agni), Air (Vayu) and Space or Ether (Akasha). The farther you take your practice and the more you delve into the philosophy of yoga, the more that you know that achieving balance in these elements is essential to mental, physical, and spiritual health. Each element is also deeply connected to the chakras of the body. Therefore attaining balance in the elements is attaining balance of the chakras
The Earth element (Prithivi) is literally the ground beneath our feet but also the heaviness of our bodies, our bones, our organs and tissues. Mentally the Earth element is associated with feelings of deep committment and steadfastness of heart and patience. Of the five senses it is the sense of smell that is connected to Prithivi and the root chakra (Mooladhara) is balanced by concentrating on Earth. If you're looking to balance the Earth element practice STANDING poses.
The Water Element (Apas).Think of the water element as the flow of the life force with in your body. It makes sense that physically the water element is connected to the mass of fluid that is held within our skin. Of the Five senses it is the sense of taste that is connected to Apas and mentally Water is connected to sensitivity and creativity. The chakra associated with Water is the Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana). To balance the Water element practice FORWARD BENDS.
The Fire element (Agni). In the world fire can be an extremely transformative element and this is not any different when applied to the physical body. Physically fire governs thirst, digestion, and sleep while mentally it's connected to passion and confidence. Of the five senses it is sight that is connected to Agni because the element is often visualized as light. The solar plexus chakra( Manipura) is associated with Fire. To balance the Fire element practice BACKBENDS.
The Air element (Vayu). The air element is understandably connected to the breath of the body (one of the most key elements of yoga practice) but also to the fibers of the muscles and their ability to expand and contract. Mentally it's our intellect, intuition and perspective that are connected to Vayu. Of the five senses it is our sense of touch that is bound to the Air and the Heart chakra (Anahata) is associated with the Air element. To balance the Air Element practice BALANCING POSES.
The Space or Ether element (Akasha). Space is the open universe or if you think of Ether it has no form or shape and cannot be contained.Physically the Space element is the space between our organs or our bones and is one of the reasons we often create space in the body during our yoga practice.Of the five senses it is hearing that is associated with Space/Ether. Mentally Space/Ether brings balance and controls our emotions and the passions of our lives. The chakra associated with Space/ Ether is the Throat Chakra (Visshuda). To balance the Space/Ether element you should practice INVERSIONS AND/OR SITTING POSES.
In my sequences for class Ii try to incorporate poses to balance each of these elements and therefore bring balance to the body. So THAT is why it is FIVE YOGA :) Everything can be embraced within the scheme of the five elements. It connects things. For instance it connects sound to spaciousness.It connects a behavior of non-harm and commitment to the qualities of consolidation,solidity and stability.
I know all of that information can seem confusing or overwhelming at first. I hope that it sparks some understanding of the deeper meaning of the yoga practice . I ADORE what I do and helping others embrace the peace and balance that can come from a regular yoga practice. Please feel free to contact me with any questions my inboxing me on facebook at www.facebook.com/fiveyoga or firstname.lastname@example.org