The element of fire has been given eminence in Vedic and yogic philosophy for millennia, in fact fire, agni is the first thing mentioned in the Rig Veda, the oldest book in the world and a text on yoga, and is held in equal esteem today. It is easy to understand why, fire being harnessed by humanity, back in the depths of time revolutionised the direction that our species took and every aspect of our lifestyle. Yoga recognises not just this external physical presence of fire, but also its more subtle internal aspect, the tattwa/ element of agni, fire within us.
Agni governs digestion, transformation and purification within us, the digestion of food and thoughts, the transformation of food, experience and the gradual purification of the self. When agni is balanced and strong this process occurs with ease, when weakened or inbalanced it doesn’t. So when does agni falter? Well, just like an external fire, inner fire doesn’t respond well to cold or damp. therefore it’s not difficult to see that agni can be challenged by the climate here in Ireland especially during autumn and winter.
So coming into this time of the year, it may be wise for us to pay attention to maintaining agnis strength. There are multiple ways in which we can do this, a simple example is the presence of an open fire itself, central to any home here for thousands of years, diet directed to creating heat and stimulating fire within, warming drinks, soups, spices and seasonings, physical exercise, yoga asana such as suryanamaskar, standing asanas, twists etc, walking, cycling, whatever your thing may be.
Like all yogic practices, there is no one size fits all, rather it is a case of you applying your own discernment (viveka )to see how you can fortify agni through the cold, damp and dark months of winter. What ignites the fire in your belly, mind and consciousness? I hope your explorations deliver the answer to you. Om tat sat.