Welcome to Exploring the Elements—our 5 part series devoted to describing the power of the 5 elements which Ayurvedic tradition believes to be the foundation of life: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Space. Transform your view of the world around you, and your own health, with a new understanding of the elements!
Wind element, sometimes called air element, drives movement in all of its forms. Most of the qualities of Wind element can be felt in the cold wind of autumn and winter. Wind element carries the qualities cold, dry, rough, irregular, unstable (mobile), subtle, and light. Sound familiar? That's right, vata dosha is made up of Wind and Space!
All of the movements that happen in the body—from peristalsis in the intestines to the movement of thoughts and sensations—are produced by Wind element.
Smooth Sailing Wind
Because Wind element is movement, it is also power. When you express undistorted Wind element you have great, unforced capacity for work. Your effortless stamina and enthusiasm for life arises naturally. You feel motivated and creative because the subtlety of Wind element conveys inspiration. Healthy Wind element also results in great capacity for abstraction and connection to unseen things. Focus comes naturally.
With healthy Wind element, all of the movements and cycles in the body occur with a regular rhythm and timeliness. There are neither excess movements in the intestines, nor trembling sensations or spasms in the muscles. Sleep comes easily and is undisturbed through the night, and life’s difficulties are handled without anxiety or excess stress.
We live in a world that rewards forcefulness. The number of hours we spend doing things that don’t directly relate to our actual health and well-being usually far out-weigh the time we spend just being human. The habits of over-doing, multi-tasking, and spending long hours in front of a computer contribute greatly to disturbed Wind element. In addition, Wind element may build to excess when you indulge in raw or processed food, intensive exercise, or drug use.
It can feel like an addiction to always “improving” or constantly analyzing, worrying, or planning in an effort to control life. Thinking about life replaces actually living it.
Alternatively, you may feel flat, depleted, and exhausted. You might lose your sense of enthusiasm and joy and the ability to connect to your life and circumstances.
For imbalanced Wind element:
- Underdoing—practice saying “no”
- Slow yoga practice with long, deep holds; heart opening postures
- Yoga Nidra
- Turn off electronics after sundown
- Nadi Shodhana pranayama
- Regularity and rhythm
- Warm, cooked food
- Spending time with close, trusted, undemanding friends