Tapas

Following closely on the heels of santosha is tapas, tapas is disciplined action and it is how we progress and make the changes we wish to see in our lives. Where santosha asks us to be content with each moment that passes tapas gives us the ability to change, to progress on our journey. Regular yoga practice – even on the days when you are tempted to skip it is tapas, saving money towards a big goal is tapas, working on my renovations every spare minute is tapas.

Tapas is like fire, burning and transforming one thing into another. When you feel the heat in your body following sun salutations moving through and cleansing the whole system that is tapas. Taking positive action in your life is tapas. It isn’t always easy, often we need to work through pain and discomfort to move forwards, tapas is the ability to accept that discomfort, to visit those hard places and to allow a shift.

In our asana practice tapas involves holding a pose when it gets challenging, not retreating as soon as we feel the work happening but meeting that challenge, feeling the heat and sitting with it rather than recoiling away. In meditation it might be staying with whatever comes up, though it might be quite uncomfortable or emotional.

Dedication to the path you are on and determination to follow it despite the fact that it might get rocky or steep is tapas, sometimes you might need to detour or pause or even backtrack but when the time is right you set out again.

Happy travelling,

Belinda

xxx

Santosha – contentment

On of my favorite niyamas to work with is santosha. This one is about finding peace, calm, contentment within your life no matter what is going on. It’s about  working with acceptance, not resignation, in the knowledge that all things will pass and we go through challenges in order to grow and learn.

In our yoga practice santosha is active when we work with what we’ve got, feel into our body and let ourselves find a posture or position that cares for, strengthens and opens up our body without forcing or straining. Not comparing ourselves with others or wishing we were more flexible or stronger but enjoying each asana as it is in our body. Likewise not judging ourselves if our mind wanders during meditation or we drift off somewhere during relaxation but knowing that that can happen and congratulating ourselves for being aware of it as we gently bring ourselves back to the practice.

Santosha has been so helpful for me during our renovations, knowing that the challenges of living in the house while we take off the roof, build the second storey all while life goes on are all temporary and finding contentment by cultivating gratitude that we are able to work on our home and extend our living areas in this way.

Gratitude and santosha are closely linked – being grateful and reflecting on what you do have in a wonderful way to find peace with what you don’t have.

Wishing you contentment in your week ahead.

Love and light,

Belinda.

xxx

 

Saucha – cleanliness

Keep it clean, sounds easy enough doesn’t it? I know we all have our own ways of keeping things clean, some prefer organised (or not so organised) mess while others like a place for everything and everything in it’s place. My style lies somewhere in the middle, I like things tidy, neat and clean but with three kids and major renovations we struggle at times for space for anything. I also believe that for kids to grow happily and healthily they need to play and I’d rather be playing with them then dusting, would rather they were building amazing lego contraptions all over the lounge room floor than watching TV so sometimes keeping it clean is not my top priority.

Saucha, the first of the niyamas, goes beyond a tidy house to a clean body and mind. As we enter the first month of Spring it is a great time to have a little spring clean within yourself as well as in your home. It is good to do this for all of the aspects of yourself as follows:

Physical body –  review your diet, a clean and healthy diet consisting of lots of fruit and vegetables and fewer processed foods will decrease toxins withing your body. Yoga practices, particularly twists, are also very cleansing for the physical body.

Mind – Shifting any habits or thought patterns that no longer serve you, letting go of those behaviors you’ve clung to over the years, cleaning out the closet of your mind and airing out everything it contains then carefully choosing what it is you pack back in and what you really don’t need any more. Have you outgrown those particular ways of thinking or acting? Is it time to stock up on a new mental wardrobe?

Heart – Our feelings are a huge part of how we see ourselves and the world. Be aware of what is present in your heartspace, are there any unresolved feelings, grudges or resentment there? What can you do to process and heal these issues? A clean and open heart allows you to both give and receive more freely and easily.

So saucha is cleanliness in thought, word and deed, in your self and your surroundings and through this cleanliness we find purity in body, mind and heart.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

 

Bramacharya – directing your energy

This yama is one that has been translated as celibacy by many over the years, it was thought to relate to sexual energy and that was seen as a distraction from the yogic path. However if everyone decided to remain celibate we would soon become extinct and often the restraining of sexual feeling or urges results in an unhealthy mind. Ultimately we are programmed to reproduce and a healthy sex life is just that, healthy.

A few others have translated bramacharya differently, meaning, rather than restraining your energy (sexual and otherwise) you channel it and direct it appropriately.  Our energies are often being divided between different tasks, parts of our life, paid work, housework, spending time with friends and family and so on. To use myself as an example I am currently dividing my energy between my family and their needs, my renovations which are drawing quite a lot at the moment, my yoga teaching at two different venues, my business and all of the behind the scenes work that goes into that, my friends, my housework and of course my own needs including yoga practice, relaxation and so on.  Often it can feel overwhelming – so much to do but I try to do too many things at once I am much less efficient and end up getting less done.

The solution offered by bramacharya is to direct your energy to one thing at a time, to stay focused and complete that task before you move on to the next, to not be wasteful of your energy by flitting between tasks, half doing this then being distracted by that. Bramacharya is my time management savior. When it all feels overwhelming I just work out what needs to be done, work out the order of priority then start at the most pressing task and work my way down. I am still amazed by how efficient I am when I use this method, when I don’t I often feel like I am going non stop, energy levels completely depleted but when I look at what I have achieved nothing is finished, it’s a little bit here, a little bit there. I have wasted loads of energy in skipping from one thing to another or trying to do too many things at once and completing none of them.

In relation to our yoga practice this is very important, being present, completely and catching ourselves if the mind starts to wander here or there. This means we work efficiently in asana, relaxation or meditation and gain more from our practice.

One task which I am enjoying directing my energy toward at the moment is planning for my first Fertility Yoga workshop at Soulshine Studio in Yarraville. If you or anyone you know might be interested please feel free to share this information.

YogaFertilitysm8

Love and light,

Belinda.

xxx