Stoking the Flames of Desire with Earth Energy Yoga
During the heat of summer, it feels apropos to be contemplating the energy of fire. The human connection to the element of fire has a rich history. All life depends on the warmth of the sun, so we’re naturally attracted to heat. Fire provides a sense of nurturing and warmth, such as the comfort we feel near a warm campfire or soaking up the rays on the beach. However, our own internal fire is what we’re most interested in with Earth Energy Yoga. The element of fire is associated with desire, willpower, passion, drive, and the heat of transformation – burning up what no longer serves us so we can renew. So, how do we use this awareness in our yoga practice to enhance our lives?
Energies of the element “Fire”
The element of fire is often associated with love and care. As beings suited to warm temperatures, we feel comfortable and relaxed when we are warm. Think of how we use the word ‘warmth’ to express a kind and friendly person. This is because we are naturally attracted to warmth. Warmth and heat are an essential part of our vocabulary because they’re an essential part of life.
Passion and desire are the fuels that help us push past obstacles on our way to achieving a goal. Asana is designed to create tapas/heat (tap – to burn) for focus and transformation. It is our inner fire that keeps us moving. The element of fire is that spark that keeps us going when things are difficult. In Earth Energy Yoga, we connect with the fire element when we focus on our intentions as well as the parts of the practice that literally build heat.
Desire, what we want in life, determines our direction. It is our desire in each moment that leads to our decisions. It is each of our decisions/actions that ultimately creates our life. (See the blog Thoughts Becomes Destiny for more on this.)
Desire actually has two forms. (1) There are the desires that come from our surface-level mind that may or may not support our overall goals and highest good. These surface-level desires are often transient and reactionary. (2) Then, there are the desires that come from our higher self, deeper sense of self, soul, spirit, or whatever term you use for it. These desires are associated with our life’s purpose and taking meaningful action.
These desires are what you want to align your life’s compass to. This is the direction you must go in. The problem for most of us is that we’re often operating from our surface level desires instead of these deeper levels of desire that would actually propel us to take actions in alignment with our greatest good.
So, how do we access these ‘deeper’ desires?
By quieting the mind, the deeper sense of self and its desire is able to come to the surface. We connect with our true desires when we stop the incessant thoughts. In the silence and the pause, our true self – the Self that is beyond perceived challenges is able to bubble up to the surface of your awareness.
Think of your mind like the ocean. If it’s an incredibly windy day with huge waves and you drop a penny into the ocean do you think it will create waves of its own that are noticeable apart from all the other huge waves? No. If you drop a house into that same ocean, you may still not notice these waves because there is already so much movement. Now. If it is a quiet, still day and the water is smooth with no ripples, like a sheet of glass, will you notice if you drop a house in? Yes. Will you notice if you drop a penny in? Yes! When the water is calm, even the smallest movements are now observable. So too with the mind.
When the mind is chaotic and full of thoughts, there is not space to hear the truer self. There is too much movement to even notice it. However, that deeper sense of your self is always there, residing beneath the noise. So, by engaging in practices that quiet the mind, we are able to access our true desires. The desires that come from our deepest sense of self that is not influenced by ego and unhealthy dictates of the larger culture. By aligning with these desires, we create a life of meaning, purpose, and joy.
When we engage in practices such as yoga asana and meditation, we are creating stillness so we can hear the insights from this Self. Asana (physical posture) is part of the 8-fold path of yoga which includes meditation, pranayama (life-force/breathing exercises), and ultimately leads to a glimpse of reality in samadhi (absorption/communion) where we realize our oneness with all of life. It is in meditation that we are able to most directly access these seeds of desire of the Self that we’ve been discussing. However, asana helps us to be able to meditate. Oftentimes, the body requires the asana in order to settle down to practice meditation. So, working with Earth Energy Yoga prior to your meditation may enhance your meditation experience.
When we are aligned with our purpose, passion, and desire this gives us an extra ‘spark’ – a zest for life. So, in Earth Energy Yoga, we work with this creative, fiery, passionate energy and we cultivate peace so we can continue to access this deeper sense of self.
The element of fire may also be used for its transformative energetic, to burn up something you want to release. It could be a mindset, attitude, even a temporary feeling of sluggishness. In Earth Energy Yoga, we are undergoing the continual practice of letting go so we can create anew. We, as humans, have a primal connection with fire as ceremonial and transformative. People have gathered around fires for ages. And, we know how quickly we can put something into a fire and see it reduced to ash. There’s always something in our life that would benefit from this release.
Here are some ways to engage with the transformative energetics of Fire Energy:
To burn up and get rid of what does not serve you in your asana practice, imagine you are creating an internal fire. As you warm up, see yourself throwing this attitude, mindset, belief, or perspective onto the fire, see it burn up, and float away as smoke.
Practice Sun Salutations to connect with element of fire. As you do them, feel yourself honoring heat, passion, fire, and creativity!
Put loving attention toward what you want to increase. Bring the loving warmth of fire toward your intentions. Move into the feeling tone of your intention – this is how you manifest.
Perform your asana with extra passion and fieriness. Vow to practice one day devoted to fire. See what happens!