The Fire of Yoga ~ Stoking the Flame Within
"Step into the fire of self-discovery. This fire will not burn you, it will only burn what is not you." ~ Mooji
The practice of Yoga encourages us to see Nature within ourselves.
In doing so, it connects us with the five elements of Nature; Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Ether.
During this season of Earth and Water (referred to as "Kapha" in Ayurveda), it is important to "stoke" our inner fire (referred to as "Agni" in Ayurveda) so that we don't fall into the heaviness and dampness of the elements.
The elements reflect within us through all of our bodies; physical and subtle.
You may notice yourself having excess mucus in the lungs, feeling lethargic, "dragging your feet". You may also notice yourself feeling emotionally heavy, damp (tears), and in a state of inertia.
Our inner fire is what counteracts these physical and subtle experiences. Think for a moment about the sunrise and sunset. These are the times of day in Nature that brings transformation. The night turns to day; the day turns to night.
These two auspicious times of day represent our own fire of transformation. The fire that turns our stillness into energy and our energy into stillness.
Fire is the element that burns impurities and ignites passion and purpose within us. It is also the element that counteracts the heavy dampness of the Earth and Water elements.
A balanced practice of Yoga can be designed to ignited the Fire of Yoga through dynamic flow of asana (postures), breath (pranayama) and meditation specific to the connection to the energy of transformation.
Some other physical practices to stoke the inner Fire are dry brushing your body to encourage circulation, stimulation and invigoration. Balancing the damp, cold, with dry heat of an infrared sauna to encourage sweating ("swedana") which will also support the purification process of the Fire element. Eating warm, relatively spicy foods can also help stimulate "Agni". Warming essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Clove Bud combined with citrus essential oils such as Wild Orange and Grapefruit are also an excellent way to counteract the dampness of the Earth and Water ("Kapha") element. You can inhale directly or diffuse on an essential oil diffuser. You can also apply topically (with a warming carrier oil such as sweet almond oil) directly to the abdomen, where the Fire element resides in the body. *When using these potent oils, it is best to consult with a qualified Aromatherapist.*
The Fire element is held in the core of the body, therefore core exercises will ignite the inner fire. Some ways to recognize the Fire element in excess in our bodies are loose bowel movements, indigestion and heartburn. The emotions of anger and rage are related to the Fire element and require cooling practices when they appear in excess. There are specific yoga poses and breath exercises to aid in cooling the Fire element in the body, as well as herbs and aromas to help encourage cool. This type of imbalance is most common in the Summer or early Autumn when the body is trying to rid excess heat.
Some more subtle practices to connect with the Fire of inner passion are those that encourage the free flow of creativity. Writing, painting, drawing, dancing...anything that gets the creative juices flowing! Notice what is revealed through self-expression, without judgment. Allow your art to represent your inner Self and hear the Divine messages that come through your creation.
During this season, we like to offer our Horse Teachers warming herbs and spices such as Ginger and Turmeric in their feed. We also offer them a stimulating dry brushing, in circular motion toward their hearts, just as we would in our own dry brushing rituals to stimulate circulation and inner fire. They may also enjoy a good scratching at the withers or on the neck to promote connection and purpose.
At times, during this season, the Horses can also fall into a place of inertia and boredom. It helps to offer them the choice of inhalation of various essential oils (not offering more than 3-5 choices at a time) as well as stimulating activities and exercises to do.
Simple things like changing where you place their feed or offering them a ball to play within the paddock (safety first! avoid icy footing etc.), can help to stoke their inner flame of passion, purpose and ignite the Fire element within.
Our Horses love the practice of Yoga. As I move through a flow practice beside them, they gravitate toward the warming energy of my own inner flame.
Together, we feel the flame of the Divine Fire within us, burning the impurities of what is not truth.
May you feel the invitation to stoke your inner flame and rise into the Fire of your deepest passion and highest purpose.
With much love,
Fotini Chandrika and the Horse Teachers
"Yoga kindles the Divine Fire within yourself. Everyone has a dormant spark of Divinity within which has to be fanned into flame." ~ B.K.S. Iyengar