P-TaK : Pancha Tattva Asana Kriya
Pancha Tattva Asana Kriya or 5 Element Asana Technique is a Hatha Yoga-Asana sequence based on an ancient science of the 5 Prime Elements, the Samkhya Yoga. These elements and their consequents form, in various permutations and combinations, the entire universe and each one of us.
Each of the 5 Prime Elements, the Maha bhutas, plays an important part in our emotional, psychological and physical selves. These elements are – Akasha (Sky/Space), Vayu (Air), Agni (Fire), Jala (water) and Prithvi (earth) element. The 5 great elements originate from the 5 Metasenses –the tanmatras.
The P-TaK Asana Technique has two levels-the Classic 27 asana P-TaK and the Advanced 54 asana Sampoorna (Complete) P-TaK sequence. Every asana in both the Classic as well as the Advanced P-TaK belongs to one of the 5 Elements, and the practice of the sequence as a whole, reveals to us our own unique elemental combination.
The intention behind the practice of the P-TaK sequence, is to identify and balance the individual elements and their life-forces or Pranas within us. Internal balance is achieved through the correct combination of the Elements, as represented by their asanas. Achieving internal physiological balance, we activate all our life-forces, and this in turn leads to a balanced and heightened emotional state.
This internal balance of the body-mind complex, or homoeostasis, in turn leads to a harmonized character, focused and willful mind, and a healthy, toned body. In this article, we share the knowledge of these five elements and a few Asanas from the Classic P-TaK.
- Prithvi/ EARTH:
The last to manifest and the most substantial of all elements is Earth/Prithvi. Earth is a symbol of strength, stability, social friendliness and competition for survival. Like our mother-planet Earth, this element is the birther of all life.
Earth element is like the foundation of a building, and a strong & grounded person who has a well activated Earth element goes a long way on the path of Yoga. The most substantial base that is required to ascent the path of Yoga is our body; hence Earth element forms the Annamaya Kosha or the gross body.
The phrase ‘down to earth’ aptly summarizes the earth character. An Earth element dominant character is reliable and rock-steady. Humble and merciful, a person with balanced Earth element can be counted in times of imbalance or confusion. On the other hand, an Earth dominant character is likely to be stubborn and instinctive due to the rigid & stubborn reference frame. Earth characters avoid risk-taking and approach any activity in a step-by-step manner.
The strongest desire that humans have is the desire to live and experience, and the process of inhalation signifies this primal desire. This connects the force of inhalation to Earth element. The prana associated with Earth is Apana – downward moving life force. Apna is stabilizing and life giving. It regulates the reproductive process of ejaculation, insemination and ultimate birth.
- Virabhadrasana I
- Bend the leading knee at 90°
- Keep the knee and ankle in one line, back foot should be flat on the floor at 45° to the leading foot
- Gaze at the thumbs
- Keep the upper torso straight
- Strengthens the shoulders and arms,
- Strengthens the thighs, ankles
- Develops stamina and endurance in core muscles.
- Improves static and kinetic balance, concentration, and core awareness.
- Parivrtta Trikonasana
- Keep both legs straight at the knees
- Place the hind foot flat on the floor at 90° to leading foot
- Keep the palm on the floor (or grab the ankle), on the outside of the leading foot.
- Maintain both arms in one line
- Keep head in line with the leading foot
- Gaze at the hand pointing upwards
- Expands chest capacity and shoulder mobility.
- Stretches spinal muscles and increases spinal range of motion.
- Strengthens and tones muscles of the thighs.
- Stretches your calf muscles, hamstrings, and hip musculature.
Next week we share knowledge on element Water & Fire.
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