"Don't fear the light within. May it ignite the sacred flame in your soul.” - Paulo Cohelo
Visualize a pilot light - a small blue flame with golden orange tips - lit in the belly where digestion takes place. Fire is the agent of transformation. While it can be destructive and deadly when out of control, it can also be mesmerizing and beautiful when contained. It offers warmth, light and the ability to purify food and water for consumption; eliminating parasites and aiding the body in the task of breaking down compounds into their essential nutrients.
Fire is the element associated with 'digesting life' in all of its many forms: information, food, emotions, experiences, relationships, etc. It's the element associated with intelligence and helps us to interpret our circumstances and make meaning. When the fire element is in balance, we can courageously step into the fullest expression of our self and will glow or shine brightly as we bring forth our unique gifts.
Here are some facts about the fire element according to Ayurveda:
Signs of Deficiency:
Poor digestion (gas and bloating)
Heavy, dull feeling
Unable to regulate body temperature consistently
Pattern of accumulation or hoarding behavior
Constantly tired despite getting plenty of sleep
Causes of Deficiency:
Excess consumption of dairy, wheat and heavy gooey foods
Little or no exercise
Trapped grief, sadness, or other feeling of helplessness
Inability to process emotions
Signs of Excess:
Skin rashes and blemishes/acne
Heartburn & indigestion
Irritability, anger, jealousy, excessive criticism and/or judgement
Blood sugar imbalance
Ulcers (stomach & mouth)
Hyper-vigilance and perfectionism
Loose stools or diarrhea
Insatiable appetite without weight gain
Causes of Excess:
Excessive sun exposure
Too much refined sugar, fried foods, red meat, alcohol, ferments (kombucha, sauerkraut, cheese, etc.) and pungent tasting foods (peppers, honey, onions, garlic, etc.)
Arguing for long periods of time
Lack of routine
Rushing from one thing to the next (overdrive)
Note: If you are feeling an excess or deficiency the below practices will help with light imbalances. However, for severe imbalance, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule an Ayurvedic consultation.
Ways to balance the fire element:
Asanas for building fire: Warriors, deviasana (goddess), sun salutations, extended side angle pose, and core strengthening.
Asanas for decreasing the fire element: Restorative yoga, moon salutations, twisting poses, child's pose and rabbit.
Mudras: Rudra (used to balance the fire element) - Index, thumb and ring fingers touch. Linga (used to increase fire element) - clasp hands and release right thumb; place in front of Solar Plexus with palms/wrists touching tummy
Pranayama: Increase fire - Kapalabhati (aka skull shining breath); Decrease fire - Sheetali or Sheetkari (great for summertime)
Bija (seed sound) mantra: Ram (associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra)
Practice: Violet flame meditation using the mantra "I AM the violet flame of presence, blazing and transforming whatever within me needs to be healed."
Sounds: Crackling fire, drums, Koshi chime for fire, gong and crystal & Tibetan bowls tuned for the Solar Plexus Chakra.
Foods for increasing fire element: Pungent (onions, garlic, peppers, honey); Sour (citrus, ferments, vinegar, cheese); and Salty (seaweed, salty snacks)
Foods for reducing fire element: Astringent (beans, cardamom, chia seeds, pomegranate, apples); Bitter (leafy greens, herbs, turnips, parsnips) and Sweet (Ghee, dates, steel cut oats, fennel, rice, grapes)