The fundamental principle of ayurveda is based on the premise that everything in the universe is a manifestation of the five elements of space, air, fire, water and earth. Our human bodies can be seen as miniature universes where these elements are constantly changing and interacting with our internal and external environments. We need space to exist, air to breathe, water to drink, heat to keep us warm and food from the earth to eat.
Space/ether – is empty, allowing movement and communication. Some spaces in the body include mouth, nose, gastrointestinal tract, lungs and abdomen. It is associated with sound and the sense of hearing.
Air is energy and is responsible for all movement within the body. It governs the nervous system and is responsible for respiration, ingestion and elimination. It is responsible for the sense of touch.
Fire is radiant energy and is responsible for body temperature, transformation, hormones, digestion, absorption and assimilation of thoughts as well as food. It is associated with the sense of vision.
Water is fluid and binds everything together. It is anything fluid in the body such as plasma, intercellular fluid, urine, sweat and saliva and is responsible for the sense of taste.
Earth gives stability, structure, strength and stamina to our bodies in the form of bones, teeth, skin etc. and is responsible for the sense of smell.