Agni as fire is one of the five inert impermanent elements (pañcabhūtá) along with space (ākāśa), water (ap), air (vāyu) and earth (pṛthvī), the five combining to form the empirically perceived material world (Prakriti).
The word Agni is used in many contexts, ranging from fire in the stomach (the digestive fire / internal cooking pot), the cooking fire in a home, the sacrificial fire in an altar, the fire of cremation, the fire of rebirth, the fire in the energetic saps within plants, the atmospheric fire in lightning and the celestial fire in the sun.
In the Vedas, Agni represents all the gods, all concepts of spiritual energy that permeates everything in the universe. In the Upanishads and post-Vedic literature, Agni additionally became a metaphor for the immortal principle in man, and energy or knowledge that consumes and dispels a state of darkness and ignorance, transforms and procreates an enlightened state of being.
In the body Agni is the digestive fire, located in the digestive organs, which are responsible for the processes by which food is broken down by acid and enzymes, to be absorbed and transformed into body substances.
In Ayurveda, agni combined with water forms Pitta Dosha which provides heat and transformation and resides in the area of the solar plexus, below the diaphragm.
On an emotional level agni equates with fire in the belly and gives us drive to action. It is also the crucible for the processing (digestion) and transformation of experience into understanding and wisdom.
It is not uncommon for unprocessed emotional experiences to cause chronic tension around the diaphragm, a sort of emotional indigestion.
In this week’s classes the theme is to stoke the internal fire, stimulate prana and bring consciousness to this area to help release deep emotional tension.
The classes will include abdominal work, twists and side bends, breathing techniques that stimulate the diaphragm and generate heat.
Through the invitation of some self-enquiry, we’ll explore any deep held emotions that might now be ready to be transformed into wisdom.