"The universe began as a single spark of light, at the core of our being we are made of fire and light, but over the course of our lifetime we accumulate junk and we become imprisoned by it, until we choose to release it, burn it...what are you waiting for? Dance until there is nothing left to burn" An excerpt from an illustration book. This is a perfect description of what tapas is. Tapas in Yoga means discipline, or the fire generated by discipline in practice, that helps us to burn through our granthis or knots that form in our Nadhis- subtle energy channels, preventing energy to flow fluidly. When energy is not flowing our light of knowledge is not shining, and when we can't access our innate wisdom we fall into behavioral patters that create suffering. We make poor choices, we choose poor words, we generate poor thoughts. Practicing with discipline and devotion maintains a steady routine of burning though those blockages allowing let the light of knowledge to shine through and inform our actions, thoughts and speech.
'Atha yoga anusasanam' is the first Sutra, it highlights that the practice begins now. It is essentially translated to 'now begins the practice of yoga'. Now is in every second that passes. In practice terms this is samasthiti. Sama is evenness. Samasthiti is 'Equal standing' or standing in evenness. It is an order to attention, a reminder to stand in balanced stillness. It is the practice of standing with equal, steady, and still attention. In Ashtanga yoga the practice begins with Guruji saying 'Samasthiti'; we are called to begin focusing our attention for practice now. We use the time in Samasthiti to come to the now, bring our awareness to our breath and come back to our center. Choosing to practice we commit to stand in an equal state of awareness. When life throws you off balance this practice of samasthiti serves as a reminder that just like in yoga we can train ourselves to come to equal standing. You can choose bring yourself into the now, back to center, back to the breath, back to standing evenly balanced in awareness. When we are present in the now in an state of established in evenness we are more aware, hence we create space for wisdom to come through.
"These four—contentment, company of wise people , the spirit of enquiry, and self-control—are the four surest means by which they who are drowning in this ocean of samsara (repetitive history) can be saved. The spirit of enquiry itself is the greatest wisdom. And, self-control is supreme happiness. If you are unable to resort to all these four, then practice one: by the diligent practice of one of these, the others will also be found in you. The highest wisdom will seek you of its own accord. Until you tame the wild elephant of your mind with the help of these noble qualities, you cannot have progress towards the supreme."- the yoga vashista
Workshops and retreats coming up: CLICK ON TITLES FOR DETAILS
Ashtanga & Yin Yoga Retreat
October 20-26 Agadir, Morocco
Intro To Ashtanga Yoga
April 12th 5.30pm Kamala Yoga (Walden, NY)
April 15th 3-5pm Rae of Light (Cornwall, NY)
Yoga & Kitchari
April 22nd 10-12pm AntiGravity On The Hudson (Newburgh, NY)
Ashtanga Yoga Weekend Intensive
April 27-29 Princeton, NJ