Stoking the Fire

Yes, my Canadian sisters and brothers and friends throughout the Northern Hemisphere, it’s that time again. I wish I could have waited at least until November to give you some ways to generate heat in your practice. As I sit here typing with chilled fingers and a cup of hot water on my desk, though, I realize it's time.

Strengthening agni, the fire element, in your practice means not just building internal heat, but using your yoga to become more powerful, purposeful and self-motivated. These are some of the qualities of the Manipura chakra, located at the level of the solar plexus, which is associated with the element of fire. This is why many of the poses I suggest below bring energy to that region.

Best asanas to build heat:

·       Standing Poses: Especially Virabhadrasana 1, 2 and 3, Utkatasana, Garudasana

·       Twists: Standing and Seated, especially “closed” twists such as Ardha Matsyendrasana and Maricyasana 3

·       Abdominals like in Shri Yoga’s 10-minute "Inner Fire"  mini-practice

·       Arm balances

·       Backbends

Ways to stoke the fire in your practice:

·       Hold poses longer (a repeat timer never lies)

·       Begin with some vinyasa like flowing sun salutations.

·       Create structure, plan out your practice times and a curriculum of poses, including  goal poses, to create a framework to guide and motivate you.