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Five Elemental Nurture

By: Elizabeth Saigal, Ph.D. CLC

Coaching catalyzes change and transformation. Fully engaging in this is much more challenging if you have a lifestyle that does not allow you to fully recharge and restore your energy levels. Because of this, coaches usually emphasize nurturing practices. Well-being has different modes of operation and missing any one of them can severely impact your ability to engage. One way to be fully supported and enabled is to consider how you nourish and cleanse yourself according to each of the five Ayurvedic* elements. These range from gross to subtle with Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. Each of us has an affinity for certain elemental experience within our daily routine. Some practices may require tweaking and others may require complete reframing. The elements of Earth and Water refer more to the physical. Those of Fire and Air refer more to the psychological. And, Ether is everything that form is projected onto. In a sense, Ether is the blank canvas - an appreciation of the process of creation itself.


The first path to nurture is through aspects pertaining to Earth. This elemental concept encompasses your food intake. What you consume should be easy to digest and provide balanced nutrition. Food choices that sustain body function are the most nurturing, including eating a diet that keeps your system cleansed. Sometimes, you are inadvertently exposed to toxins in the environment and what you eat supports your ability to eliminate them and not fall ill. In a sense, your food provides the foundation for contribution. The structure and form you create depends on stable health and energy. Being aware of how foods impact you at different times of day or by season, and adapting accordingly underpins radiance. Another aspect of earth nurture is providing grounding by spending time outdoors in contact with this element. This includes things like having your bare feet in the sand at the beach, touching stone, or walking on grass.


The second way to provide care is with the element of Water. As with food, it is important that the forms of liquid taken support your living being - from digestion to blood purification. Hydration is critical to the adult body which is between 50 and 65% water. Most people enjoy being in water whether swimming, bathing, or taking a shower, not only for cleanliness, but also because it refreshes and relaxes. Many spiritual practices use blessing and immersion with water as a means of purification. Water represents our ability to go with the flow and adapt to and interact with what is.


The third way to revitalize is through rebirth with the element of Fire burning up the status quo to allow for new expression. This allows for the release of baggage. It is common to hold onto far more than is needed, or to aspects that have not been fully processed. Developing an awareness of this allows you to identify things that no longer serve, or that need to be completed and then let them go to make way for new growth. What are you holding onto that can be purged? It is your choice what you attend to at any one time. However, if you are not paying attention it can become automatic and not selected. Holding on too much to things that have gone cold or that are in the past slows you down, whereas receiving too much heat in terms of new experience and transformation can overwhelm. So, it is about balancing the temperature of your journey. It is up to you to moderate your journey through the action taken. Actions that align with what you value bring peace. Those that don’t may need the element of fire and the courage to do something different.


The element of Air is the fourth aspect to optimize well-being. Breathing is frequently underrated as a way to cleanse cellular structure. There is constant exchange of carbon dioxide for oxygen and expulsion of waste gases. The level of oxygenation in our blood contributes to cellular elimination and function. You can access it through mediation, exercise, and deep relaxation. It is tied to your emotional experience and activation of your nervous system. The more stressed you are, the shallower your breathing and the less well oxygenated your blood. Breathing is about taking up and giving back. Both what you receive as well as pass on are indicated by air. Allowing contribution both from and to others is the gift of this element and is how you share being cherished.


The fifth element of nurture is Ether. This is the support given by space to exist, both internally and externally. It is manifested by the space between atoms or the quiet between sounds. Literally, it is the way that you embrace nothing in your life. What practices do you have to connect with your subtle vibration and potential? When do you make time to do absolutely nothing? Since this is emptiness or void, it exists within all other forms, so you can bring being into any aspect of your life simply by bearing witness to the peace of stillness.

Many of us will be familiar with addressing food intake, hydration, exercise, breathe work, and downtime as ways to keep healthy. However, commitment to each of these is a way of life that demonstrates the value you give yourself. You are worth loving in this way.

*Ayurveda is a traditional Hindu system of medicine based on the idea of balance in bodily systems.


Elizabeth Saigal is an ILCT Certified Life Coach. She offers Life Design Coaching for those intent on connecting with their inner truth and aligning with their intuition to live a life on purpose. You can connect with her and sign up to receive her Free Ten Step Life Design System at