Yogic Practices to Purify the Elements
Purifying the elements is the very core of all yogic and tantric practices; by purifying the elements we are able to completely transform our body, our mind, and every aspect of our lives.
The wellbeing of body and mind can be accomplished by purifying the five elements within the body. When the elements haven’t been purified, they are fundamentally out of balance. This causes disorders, which can be mild or severe based on the level of impurity of the element in hand; they can be physical, mental or energetic ailments.
Through yoga, we are able to purify the elements and restore balance in our lives. With enough purification, we can essentially gain mastery over the elements, and over the systems and processes they govern within us.
Purification through the Shatkarmas
The shatkarmas purify and cleanse by making use of the fire and water elements. Since all the fires within the human body are contained within water, (for instance stomach acid), by using water, the shatkarmas are able to decrease an excessive water element (in the form of mucus) and an excessive fire element (in the form of digestive acid). The Shatkarmas however mainly purify the body and pranic or energy body.
Through the practice of Agnisar Kriya, we are able to increase the fire element by using air to fan the digestive fire. Practices such as Basti and Dhauti are able to purify the wind element.
Hatha Yoga and Agni
Fire is the great transformer which holds the power to alter the others elements, and through fire, we are able to burn the impurities present within the other elements. This can be achieved by practicing dynamic asanas, which will generally increase the fire in the body. However exceedingly intense movement will also increase the air element, which if excessive could result in ailments within the systems and processes governed by air.
Pranayama and Vayu
Air is a very powerful element for purification, because air is the carrier of prana, the vital energy. Air provides us with the vital energy of life, and fans the internal fires of our body and mind. It is an expanding, piercing and flowing element which will always try to occupy and enter all spaces. Air circulates throughout the body and mind, thus it has the power to bring by a rapid and powerful purification. The best yogic practice for this is Pranayama.
Tattwa (Bhutta) Shuddhi: Purification of the Elements
Tattwa or Bhutta shuddhi, which literally means purification of the elements, is an ancient tantric practice in which the inner elements are purified and transformed by using yantras, mandalas and mantras. It is an advanced practice, and should only be done under expert guidance.
Purifying Agni through Homa.
The practice of homa allows one to progress spiritually in spite of all our defects, because the fire literally burns them away. Incineration is a characteristic quality of fire, and it holds the power to cremate the impurities of the mind and body.
Purification of the elements through mantra.
The elements may also be purified by mantras; particularly by repeating the bija (root) mantras, however this must be done under the guidance of a competent master, as there are many inherent risks in doing practices which are unsuitable for one’s nature.