Five Elements—Assessment and Practices A Video Summary

John Beaulieu, ND PhD


Ayurveda has a close connection with two systems of Indian philosophy--Sankhya and Vaisheshika. Both hold that as a matter of physics there are five elemental forms of substance: space/ether, air, fire, water, and earth. A clinician thinking and acting outside the framework of Ayurveda has found this scheme to be useful for diagnosing and treating imbalance, described in terms of these five elements. Also, note that he subscribes to the cakra system of yoga and that the element-association of yoga has been given with its appropriate healing Sanskrit mantra. The discussion of the 5-element scheme is presented in order of the cakra system.


Disclaimer:  The following information should be evaluated with a licensed medical practitioner for usefulness and appropriateness before one tries to diagnose and treat disease.



·        Inquiry:

1.      Are you organized/structured? = goals, plans direction in life everything/nothing?

2.      Are you patient?

3.      Do you handle your finances well?

4.      What are the boundaries in your life? Do you have issues with boundaries?

5.      Do you feel stuck or are you unable to move in some area of your life?

6.      Do you experience low back problems?

·        Behaviors

1.      Walk very slowly (T’ai chi-like) and breathe slowly with 5 minutes exact


WATER—inch below navel svadisthana--vam

·        Inquiry:

1.      How are your relationships? (Attachment or bonding?)

2.      Are you creative? (Movement important)

3.      Are you bloating, swelling, feeling heavy?

4.      What is your general mood? Does it move easily from one to another?

5.      Are you overwhelmed? (Drowned in you own feelings or none at all?)

6.      How do you feel about yourself sexually?

·        Behaviors

1.      Fluid, connected, flowing movements with the whole body—all limbs, extremities for 3-5 minutes



·        Inquiry:

1.      Do you take direct and quick actions in your life to get things done? Do you procrastinate?

2.      Are you enthusiastic about your life, projects, goals etc.? (competitive)

3.      Do you get angry? Can you express anger in a productive way (that shows involvement but not derision or degrading)

4.      Do you have ulcers or high blood pressure?

5.      Would you describe yourself as a leader or have leadership abilities? (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius?)

6.      How is your appetite?

7.      (Look at the brightness in eyes.)

8.      History of ulcers, boils, varicose veins, rashes?

9.      Body or parts cold?

·        Behaviors

1.      Cheering, shouting, jumping to the feet do this for 30 seconds (shooting and forceful movements);

2.      Stop immediately and be present with the feelings and affirm it’s ok to have these feelings.


AIR— anahatra--yam

·        Inquiry:

1.      Do you think and move quickly?

2.      Do you have a lot of projects going on at once? (Maybe there are none from lack of inertia)

3.      Do you have needs and desires that are not met? (Over expressed or under expressed)

4.      Is there dryness—skin, thirst, constipation, some rashes?

5.      Constant talking? Loquacious? Erratic? Nervous? Jittery?

·        Behaviors

1.      Sitting or standing moving, talking quickly, jerking for 2 minutes or what feels like.

2.      Stop and feel what that energy is like and be with it and ask what it would be like in your life.



·        Inquiry

1.      Do you have enough space in your relationships?

2.      Do you experience space and freedom in your life?

3.      Do you feel trapped?

4.      Do you have areas in your life that you have fear around self expression?

5.      Is there grief or loss in your life? Do you have a need to grieve?

6.      Do you have any spiritual interests or side in the life?

7.      Compression of joints? Lack of movement of joints? Tightness? Elongation of tissues? Loss of tone?

·        Behaviors

1.      Sit and do nothing. Be silent. Close eyes, Maybe notice your breathing. For 5 minutes. Note the feelings and sensations and how these compare with the others.


(C) Copyright 2000 Michael Dick All Rights Reserved