“How can you rise, if you have not burned” ― Hiba Fatima Ahmad
Weekly Focus: Tapas (burn away, ardour, heat)
The temperatures around us begin to warm more + more each day. We build a fire in ourselves to purify the Self. As we begin to bloom, the final shells of our intentions set earlier this Winter drop away, revealing what lies inside. To come closer to the Self is to burn away at the false identities, the limiting beliefs, the distractions that shroud who we are. Just as a plant bursts through the seed + sheds it’s shell, we can burn away at our excess, leaving our truest intentions + desires to bloom. As we purify, we gain more insight into the Self, a peak into our deepest desires, the pathway to our dharma. This elimination may help us to overcome the barriers that keep us from our highest Self. Without a shell to hide behind, we might face the world head on in our most authentic form. To create tapas, we forge a fire of dedication to our practice.
Passive Pose of the Week: Scorpion Stretch
Find release while building a deep heat with this fiery stretch. Sometimes heat is showy, like a big flashy bonfire. Other time it burns subtle, but HOT + deep, such as the embers of a fire. Scorpion stretch offers that deep hot heat, that may not look like much from the outside. There is no need to force or wedge yourself into this pose. It is important to recognize when enough is enough. Perhaps this week, rather than muscling your way into the “deepest” variation of this stretch, try a softer version but hold it for twice as long as you normally would. While in a yoga class we often take scorpion stretch on the floor, we also love it at the wall — especially mid-day at work, at home, or following up a fitness routine. Taking this pose while standing reduces the weight of the body on the shoulder + allows you to feel more supported as you work into the heat of this stretch gradually.
Active Pose of the Week: Ardha Purvottanasana (half intense east stretch/reverse table)
Build a fire in the full body + reveal yourself in this powerful heart opener. This is one of those poses that we can do with a half heart, and just kind of casually lift ourselves into. What happens then though? The pose becomes sagging + soft, and may also create tension or even pain in the wrists + shoulders. As you lift, feel your full foot press down as the upper legs tone. Engage the low belly, and let the shoulder blades wrap behind the heart, creating a base of support. This will drive the weight up + out of the wrists. The chin can stay tucked to the chest to reduce discomfort in the neck. Still not enough fire? It is very easy to move from reverse table into your reverse plank — a trickier position to lift + hold!