Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Element Fire

Fire consumes. It can consume like a humming bird sipping nectar from a flower or like a bear ravenously eating as much as he can after the long winter hibernation. A single candle flame gives a feeling of softness, peacefulness and even romance. Inviting people to come together, campfires give warmth and light. Uncontrolled wildfires purge everything in their path with their enormous energy.

Although fire destroys, it also creates the setting for new growth. A forest fire gets rid of excessive undergrowth, adding nutrients to the soil so native species have room and opportunity to grow and flourish. Sometimes we burn items that are associated with painful memories as a way of letting go of the past and making room for new energy and relationships.

Fire transforms. The fire of digestion breaks down food we eat to give us energy and nutrients. Cooked food makes it easier to digest. Burning trash can create energy or pollution.

The ancient legend of the Phoenix rising from the ashes gives us inspiration in hard times. According to the legend the Phoenix is a magical bird that had to renew its life every 500 - 1000 years. It would build its own funeral pyre gathering aromatic herbs, woods, and spices from around the world. Then it would sit on the nest, turn its face toward the heat of the sun and fan its wings to create the fire that would destroy his body. From the ashes a new Phoenix would be born and live another long lifetime. The Phoenix has been honored in many cultures as a symbol of light, rebirth, and immortality.

People with fire qualities are great leaders, passionate, extroverted, adventurous, and enthusiastic. They can also be rebellious, hot-tempered and moody. Fire energy can stimulate or overpower so it should be exercised with some caution.

Manifestations of the fire element beside fire itself are the sun, lava, volcanoes lightning and all forms of light. Looking into the flames of a fire has a hypnotic quality and the surroundings illuminated by those flames have a soft edge that is soothing and enchanting.

Bringing the fire element into our yoga practice gives it strength and helps us to eliminate toxins from our bodies and minds. Twists are a great way to accomplish this as they massage the internal organs and work the abdominal muscles. Several strong breathing practices help to ignite the inner fire and activate more core muscles. When the body is warm, it is safer to stretch our muscles, tendons and ligaments creating more space and length in our bodies. Testing our edges with sensitivity helps to build internal heat. Being passionate about delving deeply into our practice with strong intention can be transformational on many levels.

Fire is never static. It moves continuously like our breath. When your inner light is soft and expansive, it can burn forever. If we let our inner fire rage in anger and negativity, we can burn out quickly. Find the balance of fueling your inner fire with your passion without being consumed with your own needs and desires. Let your light be eternal.

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