Hatha Yoga has a very precise set of tools for bringing us deeply in touch with our true nature through the body. They are the five practical techniques, which together constitute the method of Hatha Yoga.
Each one of these techniques embodies, and expresses one of the energetic qualities of the five elements. In order for yoga practice to be balanced, and access its depths, all these energies must be present and balanced.
Together they create an energetic model of the full potential of life. This allows each of the natural energies, and Hatha Yoga techniques, to support all of the others. This not only deepens their effectiveness, but also prevents imbalance between the five energies.
The wheel of Hatha Yoga has five major spokes. Its effectiveness depends upon the presence of all of them. If one or more are missing, the wheel will not roll true, and is susceptible to damage. If one is emphasized at the expense of the others, the same is also true.
In short, drushti is the quality of our awareness, asana the quality of our posture, vinyasa the quality of our movement, bandha the quality of our energy, and pranayama the quality of our breathing. It is the quality of these things, not the quantity, that matters in yoga.
All of them can be either overemphasized, or neglected. Overemphasis on space leads to withdrawal; neglect to anxiety. Overemphasis on earth leads to rigidity; neglect leads to weakness. Overemphasis on water leads to fragility; neglect to hardness. Overemphasis on fire leads to depletion; neglect to dullness. Overemphasis on air leads to instability; neglect to heaviness.
Balanced application of the five techniques of drushti, asana, vinyasa, bandha, and pranayama, brings about a nurturing balance between the five elements. Only then can the effects of each technique, or presence of each element or energy, lead to its fruition.
When our practice is balanced, we manifest stability, adaptability, radiance, grace, and directness. As these qualities mature in us they allow us to let go more, and more, of the structures within which we have been hiding ourselves from our true potential.