The Power of Fire

Candle and lotus

As the weeks pass, we move on to the element of fire for the theme of our classes for the next couple of weeks.

Fire – energising, warming and transformational as you burn the old to make room for the new. The sun is a huge ball of fire, unconditionally shining it’s light down on to the earth. So we’ll be practicing some postures and sequences to ignite our inner flame, bringing us strength and confidence.

The warrior postures (Virabhadrasana) help to activate the solar centre behind the navel, giving us courage and motivation. Chair of the heart (Utkatasana); another strong posture that strengthens the core muscles and opens the heart centre where we can visualise a golden flame, glowing brighter with each breath.

With the evenings becoming longer, it encourages us to light candles, bringing the light and warmth of the flame into our homes. Focusing your gaze on the flame helps to calm the mind and stimulates the pineal gland.

Some of the founders of Dru yoga were instrumental in bringing the World Peace Flame into being, drawing together numerous flames from around the world into one. As you gaze at your candle flame imagine it filling you with peace as you breathe in, and as you exhale, spread that peace out into your home, your street, your town and beyond.

“‘Fire is divine water’ they said, ‘flowing back to its source on high’. I remember looking at the huge flames and thinking that they were indeed like a huge waterfall flowing upwards. This, again, is an indication to us that fire is always reaching up to connect with the very highest forces of life.”

From ‘The Secret Power of Light’ by Mansukh Patel

Transform fear into courage

Warrior yoga posture

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be thinking about the chakras, and working with postures that help to balance each of these energy centres. At the University, where I teach yoga, a stressful few weeks are approaching as students prepare for final assessments, and staff are busy too. Each of the chakras is associated with different qualities, such as confidence, all of which can help to get us through stressful, busy or difficult times in our lives.

We’re beginning with the root chakra, Mooladhara, which is located at the very base of the spine. When in balance, this gives you a sense of security, of being grounded and having the courage to face life’s challenges. The warrior postures (Virabhadrasana) work on this energy centre at the base of the spine, inspiring us to be strong in body and mind. Good postures to practice if you need to boost your confidence before an exam or presentation, and done regularly will make you stronger, more resilient and less fearful.

“Fear would have you never leave the house, or turn on a lamp, or be in love or have a pet, or go for a drive in the country… Fear would seal you away and demand that you listen all the time or something terrible will happen. Fears lie. …. Your fears are not larger than you are…”  ~ SARK – Living Juicy.

F – False

E – Evidence

A – Appearing

R – Real

Remove obstacles

Ganesha reclining

Ganesha, the Hindu elephant god, is the remover of obstacles. He has the strength and power of an elephant, but spreads a message of peace and tranquillity. He’s also the god of new beginnings. We can imagine his form and draw in the qualities of strength, calm and courage.

Ganesha mudraThe ganesha mudra “stimulates heart activity, strengthens heart muscles, opens the bronchial tubes and releases any type of tension in this area.  It opens the fourth chakra and gives us courage, confidence and openness toward other human beings”  – Mudras, Yoga in your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi

How do you approach challenging poses?

Do you look round and compare yourself with others and want to do better? Do you push yourself into it and risk injury? Are you cautious and avoid stretching yourself too far? As in yoga, as in life. Through yoga you learn more about yourself and how you approach life. Sometimes you need to hold back and sometimes you need to move to the edge and take more risks. Enjoy exploring yourself on the safety of your mat. Know your strengths and learn where you need to develop more strength and courage.

“Our strength grows out of our weaknesses”, Ralph Waldo Emerson