500 hour yoga teacher certification onlineBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

“Agni” is the Sanskrit word for fire, heat and energy. Agni is also the fire that fuels the burning away of negative mental and physical habits during Yogic practices that are not in our own best interest or for our highest good. As a metaphor, you can imagine a Brahmin priest offering a ladle of clarified butter or ghee into a sacred fire. This sacrificial offering is symbolic of the release of negative mental and physical habits that keep us separated from the divine light within our own hearts. In the ladle are all of the habits of mind and body that keep us mired in one degree or another of negativity and inertia. Until we release this heaviness or tamas, we will be prevented from reaching our own highest potential. 

In order to help facilitate the process of release and renewal through letting go of the habitual thought patterns and physical tension that dampens our energy, increasing the level of agni or fire in your Yoga classes will help your students to lighten and enhance their life force energy. There are a variety of poses and sequences of asanas that will ignite and increase the heat and energy in your Yoga classes. Fast-moving Power Yoga sequences, vigorous standing poses and challenging balancing postures will all help to increase the level of fire in your classes. 

* Crow Pose or Bakasana  

Crow Pose is a wonderful balancing Yoga pose that strengthens the arms, shoulders and core muscles. It also helps to hone a sense of balance, competency and focus. Additionally, Crow Pose stretches out the muscles of the wrists, forearms and hands, making it a very therapeutic pose for those of us who spend a lot of time on the computer. Crow Pose is often practiced in the context of a series of Sun Salutations and standing postures. 

To teach your Yoga students Bakasana, have them fluidly move through the beginning sequence of Sun Salutation B and into a squatting position on their Yoga mats from Downward Facing Dog. Their feet should be a little wider than hips’ distance apart and parallel to each other. Direct your students to place their hands approximately twelve inches in front of their feet with their fingers spread comfortably far apart and facing the front of the Yoga mat. With their next inhale, guide your students to place their shins on their upper arms and lean slightly forward.

As they lean forward and balance on their hands, their feet will come off of the Yoga mat when they rest the weight of their body entirely on the back of their arms. The dristi or gazing point in this posture is two to three feet in front of them on the floor. If you have a student or two who feels anxious about tipping over, have them place a folded blanket just in front of them for padding. This should help to alleviate their anxiety. Remind your students to keep breathing while they are in the pose. Instruct your Yoga class to hold Crow Pose for three to five breaths, and then release the posture and move through a vinyasa or rest in Child’s Pose. 

© Copyright 2013 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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