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The Five Elements of the Mind

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

The first of a blog post series of...Five ;)

*Post originally created on April 11th, 2020

Intelligence guided by the will using memory and imagination assisted by intuition.

Romana Kryzanowska (June 30, 1923 – August 30, 2013)

The Five Elements of the Mind is something well known in an array of practices that goes from yoga to tantric psychology to healing techniques.

On my Pilates Training, at the end of our apprenticeship, we were given a brief explanation of how these 5 elements play a crucial part into the understanding of how one’s mind is shaped into a new way of integrating different senses: intelligence, will, memory, imagination and intuition as essential parts of the learning process

To gain a clearer understanding of how the 5 Elementals influence our mental processes of learning, we need to relate the Elementals to their Cognitive, Affective-Cognitive and Behavioral.

*NOTE: I have no information of how this was passed on to Romana Kryzanowska, when, or in what circumstances. What we do know, as we deepen our understanding of the Method, is that integrating the senses is necessary in order to have a broader view of what Contrology entails.

It is said the 5 elements of nature: space, wind, fire, water and earth, need to be understood and serve as building blocks of all creations. If there is any sort of imbalance between any of the elements, then it can potentially cause physical, spiritual and mental problems.

The Five Elements of the Mind, in the Pilates context, can be viewed as the building blocks of our practice. Each element has its own unique makeup and qualities that are represented both in nature and the physical body. Once we have an understanding of these underlying principles we can begin to assimilate the path that can bring balance back into our lives.

Intelligence/Centering - the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.

“When we teach in pluralistic ways, there are two wonderful dividends. First of all, we reach more students, because some learn best through stories, some through works of art, some through role play etc. Second of all, we show what it is like really to understand something.” Howard Gardner

Let’s start by exploring the theory of multiple intelligences.This theory, proposed by Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist, Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

This theory suggests that traditional psychometric views of intelligence are too limited. Gardner first outlined his theory in his 1983 book "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences," where he suggested that all people have different kinds of "intelligences." Gardner proposed that there are eight intelligences, and has suggested the possible addition of a ninth known as "existentialist intelligence."

In order to capture the full range of abilities and talents that people possess, Gardner theorizes that people do not have just an intellectual capacity, but have many kinds of intelligence, including musical, interpersonal, spatial-visual, and linguistic intelligences.

While a person might be particularly strong in a specific area, such as musical intelligence, he or she most likely possesses a range of abilities. For example, an individual might be strong in verbal, musical, and naturalistic intelligence.

Not going over in details about all 8...but according to his studies, there are eight different kinds of intelligence:

  1. Visual-spatial intelligence

  2. Linguistic-verbal intelligence

  3. Mathematical intelligence

  4. Kinesthetic intelligence

  5. Musical intelligence

  6. Interpersonal intelligence

  7. Intrapersonal intelligence

  8. Naturalistic intelligence

His conceptualization of intelligence as more than a single, solitary quality has opened the doors for further research and different ways of thinking about human intelligence.

And then, your first client have your order right (hopefully), you have all names, over 600 hours of training, case studies, practice, everything! At the end of the session you have a crisis...OMG moment! You came to the realization that cannot TEACH! (panic attack mode on!!!) HOW could you possibly think this would be a good idea?? You asked the client to lift the right leg, there comes the left. You ask them to lift their head, head stays still, you ask them to breathe, because momentarily they have forgotten how to. You feel like a failure, an imposter the beginning that was my reality, believe me!

Maybe not you, maybe you are one of the few really gifted teacher. With time and lots of inner talk, I grew in patience and understanding of how people learn differently, which had served me so, so well, and it helped me connect to my clients on a deeper level, meeting them where they were in their learning process. People learn that AGAIN!

Centering - This concept is defined as physically bringing the focus to the center of the body, the powerhouse area between the lower ribs and pubic bone. Anatomically, our center connects several large muscle groups and refers to the musculature located deep within the abdominal area.

From our center we support our spine and major organs, strengthen the back and improve alignment and posture. With a properly developed center we are less vulnerable to fatigue and lower-back pain. In many holistic approaches, our center is where our energy is generated and therefore, connect to all things in the universe. After every single session, most practitioners are able to feel grounded and expanded. The feeling of peace, power and energy certainly makes us all look forward to our next session... can you sense an inner smile beginning to emerge? Great. That’s what I am talking about!

“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” Hermann Hesse

I like to think of Centering as the “way back home”. Take a moment to stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Visualize your body as a tree, with your torso representing the trunk and your feet representing the roots. Focus your attention on your core and scan down your legs until you reach your feet. Notice the ground beneath your feet. Feel the strength of your body. You are not “scattered” anymore; you are right here. When you are able to center yourself in times of distress, you will find that you work more efficiently, relate to others more easily, and feel an improvement in your physical health. Each of the above techniques can be employed anywhere and any time, in just a minute or two. If you can go safely go outside and try this barefoot, even better.

Last words...

Being centered and grounded doesn’t protect us from challenges and hardships in life. But coming back home to your inner self, creates a deep sense of personal harmony, being aligned with who you really are. It can make traveling through life’s bumps a little less lonely and confusing. It’s like moving through life with your best friend at your side. Treat “your best friend” with love, kindness and loyalty.

Be well everyone. In love and intelligence, we shall thrive.



* Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice, nor is it a substitute for medical advice. You should consult a physician regarding medical diagnosis or treatment.



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