This may seem an odd title for our Yin Yoga class on Wednesday evening! I was expanding on the week's 'Recipes for Yoga' themed practices, one of the main inspirations being my Aga oven and another, of course, this well known Yoga quote from Mr Iyengar!
A couple of weeks ago there was a blockage in the system and our Aga flame went out! The engineer came and blew out the debris causing the issue. I then had to relight it....this is a tricky situation, where you have to watch the flame does in fact light and 'jump to the inner ring', otherwise it burns too high, which can be dangerous (think large explosion in my kitchen!). If it doesn't catch it can be just as dangerous because of silent fumes pervading the house (thankfully no smokers here!). Understandably, though slightly over dramatic, it always makes me nervous doing this!
Fire can be such a beautiful, mesmeric thing, bringing much needed warmth when we are cold and light to our darkness, but when it burns too strongly it can get very quickly out of control and be devastating.
At Yin Yoga we practiced through a different lens this week, looking at our 'Inner Flame' with lessons from Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine speaks of Meridians or channels, like Yoga and the Nadi. Both traditions say we all have around 72,000 of these channels running through our bodies connecting major organs and systems. That the conclusion of these separate ancient, anatomical self studies are the same gives them credence, especially now that modern scientific research is verifying the existence of Meridians.
The 2 main Meridians linked to the Fire element are firstly the Heart Meridian, responsible physically for regulating blood flow and circulation and metaphysically regulating our emotions and thoughts, just as they affect our heart. Consider these phrases we use all the time in this modern Western world; 'Heart-felt', 'Broken Hearted' and 'Warm Hearted'........ The second is the Small Intestine Meridian, which physically sorts out nutrients from waste and mentally sorts the pure from impure, ruling our discernment. Consider these everyday expressions; 'Gut Instinct', 'Fire in the belly' and 'Butterflies in your tummy'........ These innate links between organs and areas of the body with different emotions and reactions run throughout the teachings of many holistic health practices, old and new, including of course, Yoga. So our Yin Yoga class worked with the Traditional Chinese Medicine Meridians by using Yoga Asanas that 'opened' the front and sides of the body and the abdomen. The aim was to open any blockages in the channels and find a steady rhythm like the Aga flame, neither too high or too low.
Yin Yoga is a practice also in learning about yourself. It can be a great challenge to those who find stillness difficult and this becomes quite evident quite quickly! To help with this, the best tool is always our Breath. Just taking control of the Breath, extending the inhales and exhales and directing them around our body is a complete game changer! Interesting that by becoming aware of and by regulating our 'fuel', the Breath, we again find balance...... taking us back to the Aga scenario!
Taking time to stop, look inwards and be aware of our energy and what fuels and regulates it, noticing and working on both physical and emotional 'blockages' and finding patience and stillness is important for us all.
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