Recently this issue has come up a lot and newer artists have been wondering how they can deepen their relationship to and with the fire so that they have less fear of it. Here are 4 tips for gaining more comfort working with fire, regardless of the tool(s) you’re working with.
- As strange as this may sound, start by repeatedly extinguishing lit fire tools. Again and again. This requires you get up close and personal with the fire and actually feel the heat. In addition to the benefit of feeling the heat itself, repetition of this practice really helps you get more and more comfortable with the adrenaline rush that goes through your body as a result of working with the powerful element of fire. In a sense, it is even more helpful when the fire is harder to put out because having to work with that persistent flame can really improve your relationship to the fire immensely. If possible, working with a tool like fans is perhaps one of the best ways to get comfortable because they are bigger tools, have a lot of fire and have multiple wicks you’re extinguishing at once. Note: if you’re working with fans, be sure to have a larger piece of duvetyne.
- Play with the flames themselves. If you’ve never run your hand through a candle flame, now is the time to start. In fact, make it the flames of your lit tools. Rather than spinning your tool and whipping it around you more quickly, just be with the flames in stillness and actually play with the fire itself. Allow your hands to warm in the heat of the flame and begin to feel the heat on your body more and more so you can solidify and deepen your relationship to both the flames and the heat. You may also want to try running the fire along other parts of your body — in addition to improving your relationship with the fire it makes an excellent performance trick, especially for the uninitiated.
- While practicing with the fire itself, develop your relationship to it by meditating, breathing, and noticing the adrenaline in your body. It is absolutely natural and expected — if not welcome — to have an adrenaline rush when the fire is going. This is your body preparing you to be more alert and therefore more capable of handling this very serious and potentially dangerous element. By learning to be in relation with the adrenaline, you will gain more comfort spinning fire because you will be more capable of handling the rush each time it happens. As a result of your increased comfort, you will feel more free in your practice and performance with fire. Just as the fire itself is an element to be worked with, the adrenaline is fundamentally shifting your body chemistry and is also an energy to be worked with.
- Most obvious, but probably the least impactful of each of these four tips, is to actually light up and practice and try this with your eyes closed. It helps quite a bit to simply repeat your spinning practice with the fire. However, each of the other 4 tips can dramatically accelerate your improved relationship to the fire because of the very direct emphasis on the fire each of them takes. All the same, practice helps and this is no exception.
Written by Temple of Poi founder and visionary, GlitterGirl, who has been a full time flow arts coach and instructor since 2002. If you are looking for an amazing coach to help you step up your skills as an instructor, student, performer or otherwise using personalized coaching with GlitterGirl, email her directly (GlitterGirl <at> TempleOfPoi <daught> com) or find out about upcoming classes, videos and other articles that are posted by subscribing to our newsletter now.
Originally published May, 2010.