Autumn calls for a cosy fire. A fire to keep us warm and bring brightness and light. As the days grow shorter, cooler and darker the fire is a perfect reminder of drawing inwards and gaze into the light.
Mother Nature and our natural instincts guide us. Autumn is time to hibernate, to be more introspective and bring awareness to our inner environment.
The fire is the perfect symbol for this transition and lesson into hibernation.
The fire in Ayurveda and Yoga
In both Yoga and Ayurveda, we have the five element theory. In short: everything is created by five great elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. The fire, also known as Agni, represents heat, transformation, light, form, digestion and focus.
Taking time to meditate by the fire be it a fireplace or candlelight gives us time to digest and to see more clearly.
In summer we had the brightness of the sun, the external fire, shining upon us. Giving life, energy and light. Now the solar energy is less available. The days are getting shorter, cooler and we have less sunshine.
So how does this affect our body? How do we nourish and support our physical being at this time of change? We love the Mantra from Yogandha Muscle Soothe: Annamaya Dhehi or "May my Body be Nourished". How can we nourish our body at this time of transition?
Just as we have external fires, like the bonfire, the sun, a candle flame or a wood burning stove we also have inner fires. Ayurveda often speaks of the digestive fire, the Jathara Agni. This fire is responsible for digesting and transforming our food and beverages into nourishment and help eliminate the waste material.
The Agni and its role in the digestive process is one of the pillars of health in Ayurveda. Having a strong digestive fire that can transform what we eat and drink into nourishment and effectively eliminate any waste brings health and wellbeing. According to Ayurveda any undigested material becomes Ama, or “toxic”, and can potentially lead to other health concerns.
Read more about the digestive fire here.
In summer the external fire, the sun, helps us digest. We crave cooling foods in the heat such as raw salads and refreshing fruits. And somehow we can still digest a delicious ice cream on a hot sunny day.
Ayurveda believes our external and inner environment are connected. The means that in autumn and winter, and less sun available, our inner fire is also being compromised. We can no longer easily digest the cooler foods - a fresh salad may no longer be a “healthy” choice. Our digestive fire is perhaps less active and is not being supported by the external heat.
In our next blog post, we will share exactly how to kindle your inner fire, your digestion for nourishing food at a time when even our digestion goes into hibernation