Passion. Destruction. Transformation. Energy. Self confidence. Self Esteem. Digestion. These are all associated with the element of fire within you.
When this element is out of balance you may find yourself low in energy, lethargic, and unable to find the drive to chase after something you want. On the opposite end of this, if you have too much fire you may find yourself quick to judge, quick to anger, feeling burned out, and have a hard time controlling your emotions.
The following 6 poses and short sequences will help you to restore balance of the element of fire within you. The poses practiced here are focused down the midline, and thus there is an emphasis on core work. Beyond poses, we will work with Pranayama (control of breath) and Mudras.
If you would like a full 40 minute practice with the focus of Stoking the Fire Within, catch my latest YouTube class.
You will need one (1) block for this practice, have it ready as we use it right away.
1. Breath of Fire – Though you may do this cross legged, I find it easiest to do when kneeling. Either way, you may want to set yourself up on a block to elevate the hips. Here we will use Kali mudra (interlace the fingers together, release the thumb and index fingers, crossing the left thumb over the right). Keeping the hands engaged in this mudra, reach the arms up overhead. Now introduce the breath of fire. This is done by taking a quick half inhale through the nose, then forcefully exhaling through the nose while pumping the stomach back. Do this for a count of 40, then take a pause before starting this breathing pattern again. Meanwhile, think about what in your life needs to be infused with fire, as well as that which may need to be tamed.
2. Slow Bicycle – Laying on your back, lift the feet and bend the knees, aligning the knees over the hips. Squeeze your inner thighs together as you press your low back into the floor. Interlace the fingers and bring them behind the head. As you inhale, curl up towards the ceiling (not towards the thighs). As you exhale twist over towards the right, while extending the left leg straight. Keep the low back touching the ground. Inhale back to center. As you find your exhale again, twist to the left and extend the right leg. Repeat this cycle a handful of times. When in the twist, keep the shoulder blades and extended leg hovering just off the mat.
3. Bridge Pose – Stay laying down here, but bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet to the mat, Grab hold of your block, placing it between the thighs. With arms resting on the mat at your sides, bend your elbows so that your fingers are pointing up to the ceiling. Squeeze the block as much as possible, press the heels down into the floor, and curl the tailbone up. Lifting the hips to mid-back from the mat. Shrug your shoulders underneath you, pressing into the top of the arms to lift hips higher. Feel the inner thighs engage, preventing the knees from opening to the sides. Add some movement to the pose, with every inhale lift higher, with each exhale lower the hips to hover just off the mat.
4. Lunge Series – Make your way into table top pose. Step the right foot forward to the outside of the right hand. Curl the back toes under, lifting the back knee from the mat. You may opt to stay here with your finger tips down on the mat (or a set of blocks). Or to intensify the pose, extend the right arm forward and the left arm back, making one long diagonal line from right fingertips to left foot. To take a twist, bring the left hand down and open to the right with the right hand reaching for the sky. Return the back knee and right hand to the mat. Extend the right leg back, dropping the heel down and turning the toes out. Extend the right arm up overhead for a modified side plank. Option here to float the right leg up for more heat. Inhale it up, exhale to lower and hover. Repeat this sequence to the other side.
5. Chair Pose Sequence – Standing at the front of the mat, reach your hands over head, finding Kali mudra once again. Bring the big toes together and heels apart, bend into your knees and rock your weight back into the heels. Draw the low belly in as you sink lower into chair pose. Bring the hands to the heart, keeping the chin and chest lifted. Exhale to take a twist, hooking the left elbow over the right thigh. Looking down at the floor, shift the weight into the right foot, pick up the left foot and carefully step it back for high lunge. If you did not maintain the twist while transitioning, find it here again. Take this sequence on the other side.
6. Lunge to Standing Leg Lift – Standing at the front of the mat, inhale to step the left leg back in high lunge with hands over head. Exhale, pulling it all in (coming to stand, elbows down and in, knee lifting up towards the chest). Continue to cycle through, moving back and forth quickly to really build some heat. On the final round, when you exhale forward, keep the leg lifted. Find your balance and then slowly transition into Warrior 3 (hinging forward as lifted leg reaches back. You know the drill, repeat these actions on the other side.
For more of this fire building practice, watch the video below.
Thanks for heating things up with me,
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Yoga with Kassandra – Disclaimer
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