The Fire Element in Yoga & Me: A (Blond) Bombshell? A Fighter?

In the past, I’ve been called a Blond Bombshell, ‘such a fighter’, and told I rebut in conversation just for the love of argument.  Hmmm, not a pretty picture overall, and I have to say that it is embarrassing to admit this.  But in the spirit of self-reflection, and in hopes of unveiling a process of personal transformation, (especially the challenging aspects of having a lot of inherent fire), I flay my self.

That younger woman that I was embraced the ‘blond bombshell’; it sounded kind of sexy, and so I didn’t see the collateral damage of my anger erupting into heated debates, and huffiness, as I walked away from people who disagreed with me. I was especially fervent about my right as a woman, not to be pulled into social expectations of domesticity, being less worthy than men, given we had less opportunities, rights and privilege than men (especially 40 years ago). Not that it wasn’t an injustice to transform, it is that I now recognize the ‘battle’ methodology is flawed. It is the approach I learned at home, even though I didn’t express it there.

Living in an emotionally unpredictable household, unskilled/unable to express deeper feelings, I vented them outside the home. I found power in being feisty, contentious; but it was a shield against relating to others more deeply. I was actually very shy, but this fiery energy was irrepressible, so it erupted within various social contexts.  It wasn’t always negative either.

Often, my fiery disposition translated into faith and abundant enthusiasm.  I would excitedly share my latest philosophical interests, initiate elaborate projects & adventures, and my indomitable optimism would uplift others in times of need.  I did eventually realize that my erratic nature needed regulating; now I understand this to mean: balance FIRE.  I engaged ways to channel these powerful urges through physical activities, especially gymnastics and cheer-leading (in my youth).  Gymnastics especially, held a double edged sword for me – while I benefited from ‘grounding’ into my body, competition was the focus, and this (I now realize), added more fuel to an already over zealous fire element within, sending me into anxiety.

In 1980, at the age of 22, I attended my first Yoga Class; it was the balm… I was home.  I could focus on my body, organize my exuberant fiery energy, and transform from a potential zealot, towards living my truth, and modeling my beliefs, rather than spewing them to either the choir or uninterested parties.

I have tried various posture based classes over the years, (Bikhram / hot power / strong vinyasa), but discovered these added too much heat, and dried me up energetically, (after the initial buzz); basically a hot/fast paced style wasn’t sustainable for me.  But, grounding physically through posture practice remains Key, and a steady breathing/pranayama practice helped to slowly transform the emotional detritus of childhood, early adulthood (and beyond).  Eventually, embracing meditation, (types have evolved over time), became the ultimate conveyor belt towards elemental balance and embarking on the path towards higher consciousness.

Another venue to channel passion (= Fire) is creating Art. I have realized over time, that when I don’t do that regularly, I loose my center, and all my bad habits arise.  This is a tale of maintenance and visual creativity is a form of meditation for me.

I continue to fall down at times; jump into a fire, but I am better practiced at choosing balance, embracing my mistakes, forgiving self and others. The ability to jump back into life, perhaps a little scorched, but nonetheless, ready for the next chapter, is a blessing of Fire.

I am thankful for Fire within, that enables me to sustains a level of optimism, hope and faith that can be consolation and cheer for others and myself.

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