Yoga’s Fire Element

 This post is the third in a series of five posts exploring the relationship of nature’s elements and yoga. 

Out door yoga affords gracious opportunities to connect with our elemental nature.  Just imagine laying your mat down on the beach, a grassy knoll in the park or perhaps a shady spot under a mighty oak tree—the impact of the natural forces is stunning and deeply nourishing to spirit, mind and body.

The element of fire, provided by the sun, is so vital we need to live our lives according to our access to its properties.  We eat, sleep and dress in relation to our proximity to its heat and light.   Manipura Chakra, our internal sun, is  located in the center of our body and governs metabolism of sensory input, digests both food and thought, regulates temperature and is responsible for the mind’s ability to focus and accomplish goals.  In its heightened state it fuels our Dharma, or righteous action.

Yet, playing with fire can be harmful.  I have learned through practice how to regulate Manipura Chakra to provide just the right amount of heat to purify while avoiding overheating my system and inflaming bodily tissues, nerves or fluids.  Simply put, I match my effort to my outfit.  By that I mean, the fewer clothes I need to wear, the less heat I need to generate.   A caution about overheating – generating too much heat costs us valuable OJAS, the organic juicy essence and energy of resilience, and can cause inflammation and premature aging.

Whenever possible, I take my yoga mat beachside, poolside, or lakeside.  I hope you can too.