Becoming the Flame
Dru Yoga Dance “Becoming the Flame”
We had a wonderful afternoon recently at our Inside Out Yoga studio, of Dru Yoga Dance, with Annie Raynor from North Star Yoga. She taught us the powerful and graceful “Becoming the Flame” Dru Dance, and by the end of the session 22 of us were moving as one beautiful and radiant flame.
At the beginning of the session we spent a little time looking at a flame, contemplating the qualities of a flame, which we hoped this flow would increase in us. One of the things that keeps me constantly interested in Dru Yoga is that everything we do has deeper layers, it’s never just about the physical, although the dancing was indeed a great physical workout! Intellectually I felt challenged, I have 2 left feet, so had to focus throughout to keep the rhythm, which was fantastic, there was no room for mind chatter, so I felt very relaxed when I got home. We worked with the breath to flow to help the energy flow. Once more familiar with the physical moves I found I was then able to think about a flame and what this represented, to feel those qualities within. This of course is key to Dru.
An authentic Dru practice will deftly move us through all the levels of our being, in yoga we call these koshas encouraging us to feel more than the physical. You may not necessarily be aware of this happening in a class but all our tutors are experienced in guiding you through these layers, which is why you feel so relaxed at the end of the class, and is why you get all those wellbeing benefits you tell us about. For me, this deepening of the practices is what always keeps Dru Yoga fresh, I never ever get bored, and believe me, I have a low boredom threshold! I’d love to explore the koshas in more detail in later blogs, but to come back to the point of this blog (see, my monkey mind has splintered off again!) I’d like to just reflect a little longer on the power of the flame.
The light of a flame is important theme in yoga, indeed many spiritual and philosophical practices include focus on candle flames and bringing light into our lives. Flames have the power to transform, to burn off the old, and provide an environment ready for the birth of something new and positive (I always think about forest fires to remind me of this power). A classic yoga meditation is tratak or candle gazing, perfect for these cold, dark nights. Here’s what to do. This is not for you if you have epilepsy, better to stick to a breath awareness meditation. You’ll also need to take of glasses and more comfortable if you remove contact lenses.
Either sit so that you can see an open fire, or place a candle at eye level. Please make sure this is all safe and you are not going to set the place alight!
You’ll need to turn off all other light sources, close the curtains etc, as it works best in a dark room.
With soft eyes, focus on the flame, trying not to blink, though obviously don’t force it. Your eyes might water a bit if you are new to this, again, don’t strain the eyes, if they need to close or you need to wipe them that’s fine.
When you feel you need to let your eyes close. You should see the image of the flame on your closed eyelids. Keep focused on this image until it disappears.
Open the eyes again and once more focus on the flame. Repeat until you feel you really don’t want to open them again, you feel at peace, the mind is steady and you are happy to just be, to sit in stillness.
As you focus on your flame, really think about it – it’s colours, it’s shape, how it moves. Go a little deeper, what does it represent, here are some thoughts I have when I look at a flame … warmth to all, light to all, creative, indiscriminate, selfless, always giving, radiating, eternal, powerful even when tiny, a spark that’s always present. Be creative, what do you think of the flame.
Think about the qualities of the flame. At the end of your meditation, imagine that flame, which you’ve been seeing in your minds eye, and place it into your heart centre. Perhaps bring to mind one of the qualities you associate with the flame, and let that settle in your heart centre. Allow the quality and the flame to expand and grow filling your whole body with light and your positive quality, radiating outwards from the heart.
Come out of the meditation gently, whenever you are ready.
Do practice this, share with us your experiences.
To take us back then to the beginning of this blog, although we had a lot of fun learning our “Becoming the Flame” dance, the movements were powerful and allowed us to open up to light and to take on the positive qualities of the flame. I went home feeling much more grounded, with a new found strength and creativity. I felt relaxed and was also able to just let go of a little anxiety that had been niggling at me since Christmas, for which I am grateful.
It’s never just about the physical. Ix