YOGA POSE + FOCUS: 03.04 – 03.10

“It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s all a matter of discipline.” – Wilma Rudolph

Weekly Focus: Tapas  — the third Niyama (personal observance) meaning to clear, to purify

Tapas is an inner fire — both literally from our asana or mat practice and mentally from the discipline or consistency we might observe in our lives. In what ways can you burn away to your innermost heat to purify your thoughts, words and actions?

Tapas, in the more tangible sense, is the heat we build within our physical postures, and can be an effective and beneficial practice during the Winter months. The body can become cold and stagnant, so building some heat helps to keep things clear and moving. However, what about our deeper tapas? The one that may feel harder to tap into? Consistency and discipline in our lives is a direct product of tapas. This doesn’t mean we have to be rigid and stiff with the ways we behave or the routines we set, but we might consider holding ourselves accountable in some way. Personal accountability can be a pathway to clearing habits and automatic responses we don’t feel great about, eventually allowing a bit of release to the things we may be clinging to. What are you holding yourself accountable to?

Passive Pose of the Week: Makarasana — crocodile pose

Sit in consideration of your thoughts with this intentionally restful posture. Lie down on your belly. Stack one hand or forearm on top of the other and allow the forehead or one cheek to rest on the hands or arms. Separate your feet a bit wider, turning the toes out, if it feels comfortable. To really settle in, try using a folded blanket beneath the hands for cushion and rolling a blanket to place beneath the ankles/feet. Take several deep, intentional breaths. As you breathe, notice the pressing of your belly to the floor. Imagine this gentle belly massage stimulating an inner fire to help you purify and cleanse.

Active Pose of the Week: Revolved Half Moon — Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana

Stoke an inner heat with this big belly twist. Place two blocks in front of you about shoulder’s width apart. Come to a standing forward fold. Lift up halfway with your hands pressing onto the blocks. Lift your left leg into the air behind you, allowing the leg to find tension and become strong. Keep the left hand on the block and lift your right arm to the ceiling, turning your chest and belly towards the right. Try taking this pose near a wall. You will want to twist towards the wall, so that the lifted arm can push into the wall and help you rotate. Consider how it feels with the support of the wall.