Tat stands for our innermost consciousness devoid and stripped of any egoistic tendencies, the one that is unlimited and unconditioned. Asi represents our limited and conditioned aspect. As per the dual system of Yoga based on the Sankhya philosophy, the study revolves around the nature and relationship of Purusha and Prakriti…
The Sankhya philosophy highlights as to how the ever changing Prakriti, matter evolves for the pleasure of Purusha, consciousness. This non conditioned evolution of Prakriti is due to the changes in the levels of gunas on its sub elements. The grossest form of Prakriti are the five element – Agni, Vayu, Akash, Prithvi and Jal.
These 5 elements or the panchamahabhutas are responsible for the structure of the universe; they are the building blocks of the material world. Our body is made up of these 5 elements, upon death, the human body dissolves into these five elements of nature, thereby balancing the cycle of nature.
The five elements are associated with the five senses, our ears represent akash, skin represents vayu, eyes represent agni, tongue represent jal and nose represent prithvi.
Infact we can classify the entire Universe as five elements:
- Smell with Earth element
- Taste with Water element
- Touch with Air element
- Sound with Ether element
- Shapes and forms with Fire element
Aakash (ether) is ever present; it is the space in which everything exists and acts. Aakash is fine, subtle, soft, light, porous, and smooth in quality. In the body aakash is found where there is empty space such as in the tubes and channels (srotas) of the body. Such empty spaces are found in blood and lymph vessels, openings, pores, and the intestinal tract. Aakash also contributes the sounds of the heart, lungs, intestines, and swallowing. (mastsyasana, bandhas, mandukasana, pranayams)
Vayu (air) is the gaseous form of matter. It is mobile, dynamic, light, cold, rough, fine, subtle, dry and exists without form. All empty spaces are filled with air. Air flows freely throughout the body, controls breathing, feeds the cells with oxygen and helps to give movement to biological functions. (different forms of ekpad and vir asan)
Agni (fire) is hot, sharp, subtle, fine, light, slightly sticky, and radiant in quality. Agni is found in the heat and energy of the body. Fire exists in all metabolic processes and chemical reactions. Fire is the transformational force; it promotes appetite, digestion and metabolism converting food to energy, creates thought processes and bodily impulses. Agni is also responsible for providing luster, radiance, and color for the body. (meditative asan, inverted postures, agnisara)
Jal (water) is liquid, sticky, cold, soft, compact, heavy, and moist in quality. Water constitutes the liquids of the body and represents the force of cohesion, as well as the abilities to attract and to change that are associated with water. This element provides the bodily fluids such as urine, plasma, lymph, and makes up most of our bodily weight. The bodily fluids move between the cells and through the vessels of the body carrying nutrients, wastes, antibodies and hormones. (flexibility with movements)
Prithvi (earth) represents the solid state of matter. Earth is heavy, hard, stable, compact, rigid, unctuous, and dense in quality. Bones, teeth, muscles, fat, and the structure of the different organs are derived from the earth element. (balance)