|A Happy New Year to you. Although the skies and have been grey and we’ve had our fair share of rain, I hope you’ve managed to get out in nature over the Christmas holidays.Being outdoors gets us out of our heads and into our bodies. Part of the yoga tradition is to work with the five elements, known as the ‘mahābhūtas’. The five elements (earth, water, fire, air and space) are the building blocks of our material world.
Some spiritual disciplines seek to ‘transcend’ or rise above the material world. Other traditions, such as Saiva Tantra, encourages us to become grounded in the world through our senses, rather than living in a mental world of our own making, which is not a true reflection of reality and where experience can appear dull and lifeless.
It is through the element of earth that we ground ourselves. This element is associated with the sense of smell.
Through the element of water we find flow, fluidity and creativity. This element is associated with the sense of taste.
The element of fire provides warmth and light and is associated with the sense of sight.
We can see the element of fire as an inner fire that warms and sustains us. Fire also has the power to transform, cleanse and purify. ‘Tap’ the Sanskrit word for ‘to heat intensively’ is the root of the word ‘tapas’ which can be translated as self-discipline. The fire that brings us to the yoga mat each week!
Fire is also the light that provides vision, direction and clarity. We can use the light of the mind’s awareness to set our intentions as we decide where to focus our energy. This is a useful element to contemplate as we move into New Year, perhaps feeling the urge to set intentions for the coming year. Where will you direct your ‘fire’ during 2022?