Yoga works at many levels and from many perspectives. The Elements have become my recent favorite. The 5 Elements in Yoga are Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. As a teacher, I like the Elements because they allow me to cover a variety of layers within a yoga practice so that the student can experience a range of practices, such as asana, meditation, pranayama, and energy work. From there, they can decide what lands for them and continues them on a path of transformation, healing, and clarity. I am excited to offer a chain of blogs that cover the Elements. Here, I cover the element of Fire.
What do you think of when you think of heat? Heat has the power to purify, transform, and strengthen what it touches or yields. For us humans, the sun is our main source of heat on the planet. Fire holds a powerful energy, and in yoga it connects us to our willpower, motivation, and determination. The chakra associated with the Fire element is the solar plexus, just below the ribcage. Interestingly enough, the solar plexus is the area where our adrenal glands are located. This is what powers us to fight or flight when we are in trouble. It is also the chemical released based on our fear and/or fearlessness.
Sun Salutations and strengthening poses in yoga are great for igniting the fire within. Try the following:
Vinyasa (3-5 rounds)
The Fire Element can also be tapped into through meditation and pranayama practices. Here is a short version you can do at home:
—>From Sukasana/Hero Pose, close the eyes or gaze down the nose –> come into natural breath and place hands on the area just below the ribcage. Breathe into the solar plexus for a few rounds.
—> Keeping your attention on the solar plexus, imagine a bright yellow ball like the sun beaming from all directions of the solar plexus. This light has the power to transform, purify, and renew you…like a Phoenix rising from the ashes of fire. You can become anything you want to be.
Pranayama Practice: Ujjayi
This practice can also be done saying the affirmation: “I am confident and fearless.”
Try using crystals such as tiger’s eye, aventurine, topaz, and opal.
When thinking about the Earth element, journal on the thought, “A time in your life when you felt transformed or reborn…”
“If you listen closely some morning, when the sun swells
Over the horizon and the world is still and still asleep,
You might hear it, a faint noise so far inside your mind
That it must come from somewhere, from light rushing to darkness,
Energy burning towards entropy, towards a peaceful solution,
Burning brilliantly, spontaneously, in the middle of nowhere,
And you, too, must make a sound that is somewhat like it,
Though that, of course, you have no way of hearing at all.”
-The Sound of the Sun by George Bradley