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PRINCIPLES OF AYURVEDA

Five Elements Of Body

The human body is also made up of the five elements and the soul. These five elements are:
1. Prithvi or earth.
2. Apa or water.
3. Tejas or fire.
4. Vayu or air.
5. Akash or space.

These five elements are the basic constituents and every thing can be explained in terms of these five elements. For example, the bulky and solid part is earth, the digestive enzymes which are responsible for cooking or digesting are fire, the hollow, empty parts and the big beer belly is space.

These five elements in their biological form in the living body are of three different kinds. These are three primary life forces or three biological humours. The Ayurvedic term for these forces is Doshas. As they are three in number, they are called as Tridoshas (Tri means three). In Sanskrit they are known as: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

As these are specific terms or names of the three types of humours in the body, it is not possible to translate them into English. They can be understood, experienced, or felt only from their qualities, behaviour and actions in the body. The nearest translation, meaning or comparatives of these terms, depending upon their qualities, actions and behaviour are:

Vata is comparable to air.
Pitta is comparable to fire.
Kapha is comparable to water.
Other important basic principles of Ayurveda are mentioned as follows:

Dhatus– These are the basic tissues which maintain and nourish the body. They are seven in number namely- chyle, blood, muscles, fatty tissue, bone, marrow and semen. Proper amounts of each dhatu and its balanced function is very important for good health.

Mala– These are the waste materials produced as a result of various metabolic activities in the body. They are mainly urine, feces, sweat etc. Proper elimination of the malas is equally important for good health. Accumulation of malas causes many diseases in the body.

Srotas– These are different types of channels which are responsible for transportation of food, dhatus, malas and doshas. Proper functioning of srotas is necessary for transporting different materials to the site where they are required. Blockage of srotas causes many diseases.

Agni– These are different types of enzymes responsible for digestion and transforming one material to another. All these factors should function in a proper balance for good health. They are inter-related and are directly or indirectly responsible for maintaining equilibrium of the tridoshas.

To maintain a perfect combination of Five elements, Seven Dhatus and Three Doshas is the Basic Principle of Ayurveda