The universe is made up of 5 elements : fire, air, water, earth and ether. The knowledge and understanding of the 5 elements, that is known as Tatwa gyan (or tattva), helps to regulate the 5 elements within oneself and one’s consciousness.
Consciousness takes a solid form : space element becomes air, creating fire & energy, to water and earth, and from food to man. And in the man takes place the consciousness.
Our whole existency is based on 5 elements even our physicial system, our indrias sense organs, our chakras and psychic centers. All function with the 5 elements.
Understanding them is important for yoga practioners : while doing asana, one regates these elements in the body and the mind, by increasing or decreasing them.