by Kalyani Yoga

The element of fire is linked to our Manipura chakra space located at our navel. This aligns well with the saying “Fire in one’s belly”. When we are balanced in this element we have the ambition and determination to achieve our dreams. We are able to digest the world around us to reach a deeper understanding. Too much fire we become overwhelming and angry, too little we will become lazy and unmotivated.

In our asana practise we focused on the naval area, at strengthening and increasing blood flow to this space using core work and twists. We balanced this with forward bends to bring humility to our power.  We practised Virabhadrasana/warrior pose and I briefly spoke about the energy that this pose holds.  There is a story behind this pose which I will now share with you…

Lord Shiva as Destroyer – the warrior poses
Shiva’s first wife was Sati, daughter of King Daksha. Sati’s parents did not meet Shiva until the wedding day and they had to take their daughter’s word that he was the love of her life and the Lord of the Universe.

On the day of the wedding, Shiva arrived in his aspect as the Lord of Burial grounds with long matted hair, his body covered in ashes, wreathed in snakes and accompanied by a troop of ghosts and demons. Sati knew not to be deceived by appearances but her parents were appalled and wanted to cancel the wedding.  To please Sati, Shiva showed himself in his magnificent aspect, radiantly handsome, garlanded with gold, dressed in silk and accompanied by splendid courtiers. That’s more like it, thought Daksha and allowed the marriage to proceed, but he held a grudge.

After the wedding, Daksha sent invitations to all he knew to attend a grand religious ceremony(Yagya), involving fire, at his court. However, no invitation came for Sati and Shiva.

Sati was sure her father had just forgotten to invite her and set off to the attend the function.  Shiva was not so sure but did not want to upset his wife and said he would not be attending but she could go if she wants.  

On arrival, it was clear to Sati that she was not welcome. Daksha and his friends said insulting things about her husband, Shiva.  The Yagya its self was a mockery with the Lord of the Universe excluded and insulted. Daksha was simply flaunting his own wealth and power. Sati could not bear it no longer, the flames roared.  With one swift movement she flung herself into the fire, herself becoming the scarifice.

When Shiva heard what had happened he was overcome with grief and fury.  In his rage, he tore a hair from his own head and flung it to the ground.  Where the hair had been a warrior stood, the personification of Shiva’s emotions, red faced with the lust for vengeance.  This was Virabhadra, the personification of righteous anger and noble impulse to defend the innocent. 

So, when we practise our warrior poses perhaps we can connect to this higher power.  This drive and ambition to defend a righteous cause. The confidence to be courageous. And whilst doing so, let us stil consider whether our actions are intelligent or thoughtless rage.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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