At some point we are all going to reach a point in an asana where we are just not able to go any further.
Tapas, the niyama of discipline. Tapas also means fire, a burning desire or drive aimed at quiting a bad habit or creating a new way of being. How many times have you found your self looking back over the last few days, weeks, months or maybe years and you have not been to a yoga class. What happened? When you first found yoga you were there everyday, sometimes twice a day. There was this excitement inside of you that grew with intensity after each class. That is Tapas, and like any fire, it must be fed, it must be fueled or it will die out. Each time you let that flame go out it becomes harder and harder to relight the fire and get it ablaze again. A practice based on discipline can help to build that fire of desire burning within.
It is an internal drive and one that keeps you practicing yoga on and off your mat. When I speak of discipline I am not speaking of a Military type of discipline, but a commitment to yourself and your practice unattached to outcome, open to whatever is revealed.When I first found yoga my tapas were out of control! I could not wait to get to the studio, some days I went twice. I began my journey with Bikram and like I shared with you before, I loved it because it was just a physical practice, non of the spiritual mumbo jumbo. Well I suffered two injuries in my practice, no fault of anyone buy my own, but because I only knew yoga as a physical practice I continued to go, trying to push thru the pain, find the release striving for the ideal form. Even had the instructor/owner tell me to push thru the pain, that my body was trying to release and let go. Because my desire to attend revolved around this purely physical practice, I was under the assumption that I had to stop going, at least until I healed. One thing we are currently witnessing today are all the ways to change and add to the practice, the fluff. Yogalates, Pilo, Tree yoga, Acroyoga (which I love by the way) etc……. you get the idea. People are getting bored with the same old physical movements and are inventing the newest latest greatest thing to grab the next round of Tapas in the short attention span of Americans.So what happens to a practice that is steeped in physical attributes. You have gone as far as you can go in each of the asanas or you suffer a debilitating injury, what now? For me as I recovered from a broken ankle, I did not for one minute stopped practicing Yoga. You may not have sene me in the class room or physically on the mat but I guarantee my practice and my teaching were gaining moment in a whole new amazing way. Yoga, true yoga is not just a physical practice. At some time we are all going to reach a point in an asana where we are not able to go any further or the advancements, achievements and challenges are nothing to write home about. So there is no longer a sensation of stretch and the asana is just too easy. Now what?
As you leave today take with you not only the knowledge but the awareness of you, even in the most mundane of task. It is when we have awareness, an awakened consciousness in what we do we find a new zest, a new desire. Allow that fire inside of of you to burn brightly, continue to feed it by simply being aware. Being awake. Be mindful on your drive home, as you prepare and consume dinner even when washing your hands. Open your eyes to a world of sensation and a sensational you! See you on the mat!
Hums: sensation, awareness, ease, stillness, presence, awake, open, desire, alive, free, joy, fire, tapas, effortless, conscious, alive, touch, express, believe, even, flow, move, allow,
The second of the 8 limbs of yoga are the five internal practices of Niyama (observance). Niyama can be described as the rules that need to be observed by individuals, on a more personal level. This is where the magic of yoga begins, but if you are not prepared for it early in your practice it is easy to lose the drive or desire of achievement. As you approach your mat, set aside any goals or expectations you may have for yourself. Come to the mat an empty vessel, a true beginner full of wonder. Fuel the fire of you tapas with wonder and awe, with sensation and awareness. Today instead of going to your edge back of a little, back of to a point where the sensation of awareness can be evenly distributed throughout your whole body. Find complete ease in each and every pose and then just be still.Notice the fullness of the breath, feel the full parameter of your body equally. Allow the breath to not just move thru you but move you. Feel the fire of enthusiasm you have for your practice grow, not because you have achieved a new goal, simply from the awareness. the stillness, the presence.