Updated: Mar 11
Last week in our Yoga practice we were exploring the fire element & I wanted to share with you some of my research...
There are five elements - Fire, Water, Earth, Air & Spirit. Spirit is sometimes referred to as Ether or in TCM the fifth element is Metal. Fire is widely considered to be The most powerful element, & it is said that nothing can exist before the most brilliant flames.
Fire is native to nature & has been harnessed & can be produced by humans
Prevalent in many “pagan” traditions including Hindu (Agni) & Celtic (tân), fire was symbolic in a myriad of ways; representing wisdom, purity & divinity. It also symbolises the beginning & the end, the light source, and the soul. Flames are symbols of transformative power, embodying truth & knowledge.
Yet in the modern day Abrahamic religions fire is often depicted as a symbol of evil. We've all heard the saying “the fiery depths of hell”, & indeed fire does have the power to be so destructive. We’ve seen this with the many forest fires across the world over the last couple of years. Sweeping through Australia & California back in 2020.
In ancient Hindu traditions Agni is one of the first mentioned Gods in the Vedic texts; son of Brahma, Agni is representative of the eyes & that digestive fire. Agni constitutes one of the original trinity alongside Indra, ruler of heaven; & Surya, ruler of the skies.
In Celtic traditions Belenus was the god of fire, & Beltane; the great fire festival held in early May was in his honour with many bonfires lit for purification, as well as in celebration of the mid-way point between Spring & Summer.
Exploring The Fire Element with Restorative & Yin Inspired Yoga
It's easy to think that fire can only be explored through an energising power flow or fast paced Vinyasa so I welcomed the challenge of discovering how we could light that internal fire with a Restorative practice. It's also not easy to teach a Yin inspired practice that's themed around its complete opposite, Yang! But I feel I did a pretty good job of it & I'll shortly be sharing this practice online so I hope you'll join me as we initially focus on building heat within the body via our breath before moving through considered & purposeful shapes (asana) to fan the flames before returning to our breath in Savasana to stoke it's energy & bring it to a gentle smoulder.
Exploring The Fire Element with Power Vinyasa
This was much more fun to create! Power Vinyasa is right up my street & I especially love a Power flow centred around strength as opposed to speed. Naturally we begin with Kappalabhati breath, which I personally love for how warm it makes me feel within 10 rounds of practice. Moving consciously again through a series of shapes, engaging Uddiyana Bandha (a muscle lock) to build heat & warmth. The fire will continue to burn brightly with some fun core shapes & we'll stoke the digestive fire with some twists before playing with one of my favourite arm balances; Bakasana & Parsva Bakasana (crow & side crow).
I always like to end my practices with a thought, a question or an affirmation for my students to take into the rest of their day & week so here's this week's question & affirmation for you as well...
How will you use your fiery energy to uplift & empower those around you?
I am strong. I am powerful. I am focused. I I use my fiery Yang energy to transform myself & to uplift & empower those around me.
I'd love to know how you use your fiery Yang energy for transformation & how you reign it in before it becomes destructive. Let me know in the comments below.
Next week we'll be exploring the Water Element with a flowing Jala Namaskar. I hope you'll join me!