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Fire is beautiful, illuminating, and life supporting, but kept unchecked, it can burn down a village.
This is the lesson that came forward for me- quite literally-in my morning practice today. I had set the space to begin with prayer and intention, some warm up bodily movement (yoga poses and stretching), breath work, and then one-pointed focus via gazing at a candle flame. The candle flame was warmly glowing in the cool morning as I began a round of sun salutations.
I began to let go of external surroundings and tune into the breath growing deeper and fuller. I was on my second or third round and as I folded forward, and exhaled, I heard a singe, smelt a burning and yelled! Thanks to the calming and grounding practice, I didn’t allow the panic response triggered in the body to pull me in. Instead, I observed, and took action aligned with serving my highest good in that moment.
At that time, that meant taking a kneeling position, feeling my head to make sure the fire was out (just barely singed the tip), connecting back to a deep flow of breath, and picking the practice up where I left off, allowing senses to draw back in and thoughts to release. Once my practice was complete I thought, “what a great metaphor for my life right now!” Let me explain, as I bet you can relate!
In the system of Ayurveda (science of life and longevity founded in India), there are three primary characteristics in the body based off of the five elements: Vata (air/ether), Pitta (fire/water), and Kapha (earth/water). While we each have all three of these characteristics and the five elements within us, usually one or two of these characteristics or “doshas” predominates. The pitta characteristic is sharp, hot, the fire of illumination. For those with a pitta predominance, you may be of medium build, fair-skinned with freckles/moles that flushes easily, perhaps with reddish hair. Internally, you may have a sharp intelligence and a sharp tongue, and if imbalanced, you may notice you are easily heated, irritated, and quick to criticize/judge yourself or others.
And even if you are a spacey, creative, wiry vata, or a cool, calm, loving Kapha, this irritation and heat in the body or mind might sound familiar right now! Why? Because our bodies are influenced by nature and summer is the PRIME of pitta season! So for me, as someone who has a predominance of vata (small build, cold, tendency toward scatteredness, lots of ideas, lots of movement) and pitta (aka dual-doshic), I notice the heat taking charge in the summer months if I don’t adjust accordingly. I notice my mind generating more critical thoughts (“Come on! Get that project done already! Is that all you got done today? You should be able to do XYZ in that amount of time! Why do you always do that?”), more heat internally (feeling a firy sensation in my stomach and chest), and though cold, my body becomes overheated more quickly in the sun. The big one for me to watch is the sharp, critical, condemning, imbalanced pitta mind. If I don’t keep that in check (via cooling breath work and meditation, eating cool summer fruits and veggies, and intentionally taking more rest breaks throughout the day to just be), come fall I WILL be burnt out: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
This morning’s practice was a reminder of that. Stay calm, stay cool, nothing is worth losing your peace. Balance isn’t a steady state. Sometimes you have to go to the extreme between up and down, over and under, to find it. Give yourself permission to explore that in your daily life. Cut yourself some slack in all areas of life. Within it you’ll find the balance of the elements and if your most vital energy.
To keeping the heat without getting burned!
Light and Love,
LOVE IT? LEAVE A COMMENT AND PLEASE SHARE! Check out this Pitta Balancing Breath video for a little extra help keeping your cool through the last of the summer.