Our first element of transformation is fire, the element of destruction. Destruction has a slightly gloom and doom connotation, but I think theres an opportunity to reframe how we relate to destruction, seeing as how it is essential to the transformation process.
Fire is the consumptive element, it devours and destroys its subject, literally transforming it into ash. Gone is the former incarnation, transformed to a lighter material, able to catch flight in the wind or be absorbed into the earth. Fire facilitates radical transformation as it digests and eliminates any semblance of what existed before.
When in the fire element, our transformation can manifest as a voracious hunger for change. We may experience extreme impatience with a relationship, a desire to exit a situation in a very dramatic way, or a fed-upedness with our own thoughts so intense that we'll even try meditation as a solution! Other fiery expressions of transformation include optimism amidst adversity, motivation to start a new project, humor, confidence.
Physically the element of fire and the properties that accompany it are invaluable to the transformation process. When body temperature rises, calories (energy) are burned at a higher rate. We are able to convert not only what we have eaten, but what is stored in the body into energy. We can facilitate with exercise, working to warm the body and boost the metabolic process. The effort required to heat the body fans the fire of determination and perseverance. Working the physical angle aligns us with the mental and emotional transformation as well.
Mentally the element of fire assists in the clearing of thought patterns, habits, and behaviors. Sometimes our mental debris is in need of a radical brush fire in order clear space for new healthy growth. This may feel wild and out of control, but then we remember that just as it is for the earth, we must cleanse dead overgrown material in order for the light of the sun to penetrate the fresh earth within and support rebirth.
Emotionally the element of fire supports deconstructing self-defeating feelings such anxiety, fear, and doubt. Overwhelming emotions can be one of the toughest spaces to clear, requiring consistent tending and stoking. I liken this fire to a that of a low boil, assisting in the steady evaporation of a deep well of insecurity. Revealed is courage, strength, and confidence.
The fire element resides in a particular part of the body, just behind the navel, radiating up towards the heart. Just as heat rises, fire energy travels upward. In the Vedic tradition, this energy center is referred to as manipura chakra, translating to "resplendent gem" or "lustrous gem", and is depicted with the color yellow. The yoga practice has many ways to connect to this part of the body physically and energetically. Pranayama, activation of the core muscles, and bandha work (shown in the photo for this post) assist in awakening the fiery power center of the body. Connection to our core not only supports our physical practice as it creates a bridge between the lower and upper body, it enables us to discover at our center the resplendent gem of our life force.
May we remember this precious gem when it is time to be brave in the heat of necessary destruction, and may we welcome the brightness of our rebirth.