Of Breath, Fire, ​and Acceptance


“I’m going to start my own style of Yoga”, I announce to Satyam before we begin our next lecture. The look on his face is priceless.“I’m going to call it ‘Hot-Flash Yoga’ and we will just sit in easy pose and sweat for no reason at all!” This gets a slight smile from Satyam and a chuckle out of my classmates.

I have entered full menopause at the young age of 46 and hot flashes have been a constant. I had found some relief in acupuncture and Chinese herbs. But almost as soon as I arrived at the Ashram, I stopped taking the herbs. It didn’t seem to matter anyway. Kona has been especially scorching and I could hardly tell if I was in a hot flash or it was just hot.

I also felt the need to experience this process in my fullest womanhood. I had already stopped wearing makeup and started to appreciate, even celebrate my fat rolls instead of loathing them. Many of the things my classmate Amy shared with the group was integral to this psychic shift. So many changes I had never expected.

We are studying breathing techniques and one of the first we dive into is called “Sitali Breath”. Its benefits are read to us “Cooling to the mind and body. May be used anytime one feels overheated. An effective pranayama for hot flashes”… JP looks at me and raises his eyebrows. This deserves further research. I make a point of trying this the next time I have a hot flash.

I find that if I start this breathing as soon as the flash hits me, it shortens the length and intensity of the heat. I think I’m on to something here!

I will find this to be my most useful tool going forward and have not had to use the Chinese herbs even when I return home to my normal life.

Vedic Fire Ceremony

Every Saturday morning at 5:30 AM we are required to attend the Fire Ceremony. It is another beautiful practice as we throw rice into a fire.

What is Yajna?

Yajna is not a new age phenomenon. Yajna is the ancient yogic practice of making offerings into a sacred fire. Fire ceremony purifies emotions, burns up unresolved conflict and worries, and leaves us feeling lighter, free, and more open inside. As we focus on letting go, the fire dissolves our tensions leaving only Vibhuti, or Sacred Ash, behind. The Vibhuti represents the pure essence of our nature, the Inner Self.

How do I practice Yajna?

The practice of offering mantras and a simple masala (rice mixture) has been used for thousands of years as a catalyst for change and growth. First, the sacred fire is opened by an experienced Pujari. Next, practitioners take a small amount of masala in the right hand between the thumb and two middle fingers (The index finger is left out as it represents the ego) and circle the heart in a clockwise direction while repeating a mantra. The masala is then offered into the fire. Practitioners can visualize releasing all of their troubles into the fire; the fire purifies everything. [1]

Afterward, at breakfast,  I tell Satyam and Abhaya that the Fire Ceremony will fit well with my “Hot-Flash” Yoga style. “We can burn all the unnecessary Karma away, then do some Asanas followed by Sitali Breath”. This actually gets them both laughing.

Yet I am feeling such growth with the acceptance of my natural body as it exists today. No longer embarrassed or wanting to hide. Perhaps some of my vanity was burned off as I tossed the rice into the fire. Thus, opening my heart spirit to learning more about living a life filled with true self-love. Might I be able to take this further and teach my students about such love? I do hope so. Stay Blissful My Friends – E


Photo by Satyam Ehinger – Konalani Shambhava Yoga


  1. https://www.shoshoni.org/about-us/yajna-fire-ceremony/