Stoke Inner Fire
Your body is composed of five essential elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space. Each of these elements encompasses its own unique power, strength, and benefits. Prana is the fire of life, the energy that fuels us. The late Swami Kripalvananda taught that there are two kinds of fire: kamagni and yogagni. Kamagni is the fire generated by life stressors. Yogagni, on the other hand, is the fire produced by the inner work of yoga—pranayama and postures. This yoga fire opens us to another realm, to a sense of universal oneness that dissolves the boundaries that typically define us.
So, how do we stoke this “yoga fire”? All yoga practices raise and activate prana. After a yoga practice, we feel more open, expanded, and free—that’s prana flowing through us. As we become more experienced practitioners, we can make choices that modulate the intensity of prana; we can choose to do less, or to go deeper with more vigorous, intense practices held for longer periods.
Why should you hold yoga poses for a longer time? The fire element residing in our bodies represents feelings of power, strength, endurance, passion, digestion, transformation, happiness. Stoking inner fire through yoga can have tremendous effects on your mind, body, and overall health by developing strength and stamina, enabling you to mindfully feel your emotions and improving awareness, discipline and confidence.
How can you awaken your inner fire through yoga? Start with a practice in which you are stable and comfortable—one you can do every day. The stability becomes a base that you can work from as you gradually increase the heat.
Prioritize frequency over length of practice. It’s better to do 15 minutes every day than an hour a couple of times a week. Your practice can be as simple as taking several deep, slow breaths; doing one day of YOGA365 or three postures to open your body and reduce stress, or and sitting for a few minutes of meditation.
Also be sure to begin each practice with a center thought or moment which focuses attention and clarifies your intentions. Acknowledge and honor this time as a sacred space, set apart from other daily activities or to-dos. And lastly, try to incorporate energy-raising practices very gradually; every change in your practice and pace should come from a place of stability.