• Natalie Backman

Cultivate the Fire


Om Agni Mide

~ The Rig Veda


The Fire Stage ~ Agni


The final, and ultimate, aim of practice is referred to as the Fire stage. Its primary focus is on spiritual illumination: self-luminous, non-dual absorption. Agni is the basis for transformation. It is the force behind all evolution. When discussing Agni, Fire, from the view of the Tradition, it is important to understand that Fire is not a symbol of Spirit, it is Spirit. Agni, or Fire, is the second word of the Rig Veda, the oldest of all Vedic texts. The text begins, "Om agni mide," I meditate on the fire. The root word of agni, "ag," means "That which moves you forward;" "that which uplifts you and moves you out of darkness and inertia." The opening mantra of the Rig Veda goes on to describe the fire as that which allows you to see and experience life as sacred. In other words, as you awaken and become conscious of the "fire," life becomes a sacred ceremony.


Fire is both the means and the goal of a Fire Practice. It is the means - the tool of enlightenment that moves you beyond your limitations, and it is also the end - the realization of the sacred self. According to the Tradition, life is inherently Fire. The earth itself was once a piece of the sun. The center of the earth is fiery molten lava. Your thinking process depends on the brain "firing." Heartache is fire, in as much as it creates the opportunity for growth. You can choose to use the fire of heartache to melt your ego, your sense of separateness - or - you can choose to turn away from the Fire as the Soul and allow yourself to become isolated, hardened and embittered by your disappointments. We're back to that power of choice. When the world presents you with heartache, you choose how to respond. Either the Fire of life makes you more like it - bright, radiant and loving - or it hardens you.


If you’ve ever heard the word kundalini, reading it now probably brings forth images of yogis dressed all in white, utilizing very specific pranayamas and kriyas to provoke a spiritually enlightening experience. It is important to understand that kundalini is an ancient term, an ancient concept, an ancient spiritual power, while “Kundalini,” is a brand of yoga. I am not a Kundalini practitioner, so cannot speak to it with any level of knowledge. However, kundalini is a very important part of the Tradition.


The word kundalini is derived from two root words: kunda, which means “fire bowl” or “fire pit” (the physical site for a fire ritual) and ini, “the power” or “the energy that dwells within it.” Thus, kundalini, which in the Tradition is the equivalent of Spirit, Soul or the Divine, is literally the living power that dwells in the fire bowl – in other words, kundalini is Fire.


Awakening to Kundalini can be considered the ultimate achievement in yoga and perhaps what all yoga should truly be dedicated to achieving. This is because kundalini yoga literally refers to the practice that “moves you out of darkness and inertia,” that which brightens the force that reveals the infinite, that makes the unconscious conscious – that awakens you to the highest power and wisdom.


Cultivate the Fire

Ignite the radiant power of Soul: Using Asana practice as the framework, all elements of the Tantric path, including deeper work with the Bandhas and Mudras are utilized to still the mind, cultivate energy, burn through limitations and call forth the dormant and sacred power at the base of the spine, Kundalini. Although the arc of physical challenge increases in Fire practice with the inclusion of inversions, the true emphasis is on the cultivation of an internal heat centered in the naval – and a complimentary directing of awareness and energy into the spine, considered our inner pathway to the Infinite. Ignite, thrive, live the highest version of yourself… always take the Moon with you.


Methodology To access the heart of Yoga

All Asana categories, including Extensions & Inversions, woven together in skillful sequencing. All poses building toward longer pauses after inhale and exhale as well as bandha mudra.

Complimentary Tantric techniques such as Pranayama, Bandha, Mudra, Mantra & Meditation – practices that move energy in order to purify consciousness.

Longer retentions after inhalation & suspensions after exhalation. Alternate nostril breathing.

Merging inhalation (Prana) and exhalation (Apana) in the naval to cultivate the Yogic Fire of Transformation (Agni)


Bhav (the theme of the practice)

Awakening to the highest understanding of who I am and the sacred nature of life itself

Dissolving the apparent duality that separates the seeker from the sought. “I am that which I seek”

I am designed and destined to thrive. Practice allows me access to this innate excellence.

Life is a gift from the Divine. Practice is my ‘thank you’ note.


Fire Practices are ideal if…

You are feeling physically and mentally balanced.

You are stable, calm and grounded.

You have already established a relationship with Prana.

You have a committed daily practice of Asana, Pranayama and Meditation.

Your worldview embraces Yoga as a spiritual practice.

You are truly ready to embrace your greatness.


***Teachings inspired by Yogarupa Rod Stryker, Parayoga & The Himalayan Tradition

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