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!
Fire element is the principle of transformation. In the body, this most obviously manifests in the flame of digestion. Fire element expresses as hot, sharp, bright, upward-moving, and spreading.
Fire element also manages all of the transformations that happen in the body—from digestion of food to the conversion of ideas into understanding.
When you express undistorted fire, you have great capacity for affection and compassion. You feel naturally joyful, generous, and enthusiastic. Fire element brings you intelligence, an ability to “cut through” the surface appearance of things, and the capacity to transform what you find to reach deeper understanding.
When fire element is clarified, your hunger matches the amount of your exertion on a given day. Digestion and elimination are regular and easy. The skin has a healthy luster and warmth, and your eyes are bright and clear.
Excess or Deficient Fire
Modern life rewards intensity and ambition. Under the pressure to achieve, fire element builds up. The hot and sharp quality of fire may express in anger, irritability, and judgment. When fire is in excess, our intensity may be overwhelming to others.
Surplus fire element leaves us feeling hot and bothered all the time. Red, burning skin rashes might appear at the slightest provocation. Often there is an increase in sweat and urination and bowel movements become loose and frequent. Fever and bloodshot eyes are also common expressions of excess fire element.
When fire is depleted, we are cold, flat, depressed, and unmotivated. The mind can’t digest new information. A lack of drive and enthusiasm leads to laziness, and we withdraw into our selves like an animal retreating into its den.
Lack of sufficient fire slows digestion and leaves the skin cold, clammy, and grayish. Food may pass through us without undergoing transformation. The eyes become dull or glassy, and a thick coating may cover the tongue.
For excess fire:
- Under-achieving and true “team-work” (especially when there is no personal “reward”)
- Slow yoga practice with long, deep holds; heart opening postures
- Moon Salutation (Chandra Namaskar) asana sequence
- Roaring Lion Pose (Simhasana)
For deficient fire:
- Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) asana sequence
- Ginger tea or ginger used in cooking
- Light, easily digested food
- Media-fasting—minimizing use of media entertainment such as movies, music, internet, etc.