five elements of the Vital 'Breath

As already mentioned, the vital breath flows through each nostril for about an hour. But within this hour, the quality, intensity, and power of the vital breath does not remain the same throughout. There are at least five subtle, important, and noticeable changes that the vital breath undergoes. These changes are traditionally correlated to the five elements (tattvas) : earth (prithvi), water (ap), fire (tejas), air


(vayu), and space (akasha). These are of course not the material elements of everyday life, but states of subtle matter that affect the physical, emotional, and psychic processes of the human body. There are many outer (physical) and inner (meditative) ways of identifying the five elements of the vital breath. Each element has many and varied characteristics that help in their identification, including the nature of the breath, time of flow, type of breath, manner of flow, length of flow, geometrical shape, color, taste, experience of seed (bija) mantra, and physical manifestation.

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