TAPAS & STOKING THE FIRE WITHIN

Monday, March 17, 2014 - Posted by Jess at 4:19 PM
  Happy Monday Yogi's-

 It is a drizzly day here in paradise and am feeling like the fire within is burning a bit low! :/ Eyes feel heavy, a nice bowl of soup and some lounging sounds great! And sometimes giving into those things is just what is needed. Although from experience, getting myself up and moving and keeping my commitments usually helps me feel even better, (most of the time!)

Last week in class we were talking about Tapas. Tapas is one of the Niyamas in the 8 limbs of the yogic path. Tapas has had several definitions, fiery discipline, deep meditation and effort to achieve, desire, zeal, austerity, heat, burning, and the list goes on. But it comes down to the fire within that drives you in life. So that fire is important for motivating us into the direction of our dharma or path. When in balance we feel full of energy and commitment to our path, but when out of balance, we may feel lethargic and unmotivated, or to the other extreme, maybe we can't slow down and will take down whoever is in our way. When practicing our yoga we try to keep in the Sattvic state, or balance.

So how do we propose to keep that balance? Good question! I am still a student in this arena but practice makes progress, right? So what is it in your life that helps you to feel balance and full of energy? Maybe that is a list to be made. :) The list of priorities. That is a great way to decipher what is important and what really is just wasting our time and energy. I myself have to make these lists every so often, and try my best to stay committed. So we build that fire within so that we can keep our commitments. Yoga asana, pranayama, meditation, and healthy diet are great ways to keep the fire burning.

According to Ayurveda, waking early between 4-6 a.m. to begin our yoga practice is the best time to get ourselves moving.  Practicing warming pranayama, such as ujjayi breath or kapalabhati is also great for this time of year. As for our diet; adding some warming spices to your dishes such as, ginger, cloves, cayenne, cumin, chili powder, or pretty much anything spicy will help keep the digestive fire going. (remember, balance is key) Maybe trying some warming teas; Ginger Tea, or my favorite, Super Tea. (recipe below) Some other great suggestions are trying new activities or hobbies, or doing things you really enjoy, instead of sitting in front of the ol' boob tube. Helping stimulate the brain and getting the creative fire going.

What will you choose to do to keep that fire going? Feeling that zeal in our life is so invigorating you can't help but follow your path and let your light shine! But you can't feel it without commitment! Trust me, I know from experience!;)

Sending many Blessing on your path!

Jess


Super Tea

1/2 of a lemon- squeezed into mug
1 inch ginger, sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
sprinkle of cayenne

Bring water to a boil. Meanwhile squeeze lemon into mug. Slice ginger, and garlic and put into tea ball. Sprinkle cayenne into tea ball. Place tea ball into mug and pour boiling water over and steep for 5 mins. Drink and enjoy!

( I love this tea for stimulating digestion, as well as helping my immune system whenever I am around people that are sick or if I feel sick. I am no doctor. But works for me!)




Kapalabhati Breathing

This is an invigorating and warming breath. Said to be cleansing to the body and mind.

To practice sit in a comfortable position. Keeping the spine tall. For beginners you can place both hands onto the low belly. As you take in a deep inhalation to begin, use the hands and/or the abdominal muscles to push the air out in a quick burst on the exhale. Allowing the next inhale to come in passively. Continue at a steady pace, quick short exhale, with a longer/passive inhale. Practice 10 breaths to begin, with 3 rounds. Taking several deep breaths inbetween rounds. After 3 rounds, return to your normal breath and experience the effects of this cleansing breath.


Cautions 
This is an intermediate to advanced breathing practice. So if you are not familiar with more basic pranayama. Please begin with those first until you feel proficient at them.  (ujjayi breath, long deep breathing)

If you have currently have high blood pressure, heart disease, pregnant, hernias or feel dizzy. Please do not practice this pranayama. Stick to less stimulating breathing practices.

If you have respiratory issues check with a doctor first before practicing.

Practice on an empty stomach.


Benefits

Helps to cleanse the lungs, sinuses, and respiratory system to help avoid illness and help with allergies.
Regular practice helps to strengthen the diaphragm and abdominals. It also brings more oxygen to the body and brain helping to energize and stimulate the brain. Supporting better focus in meditation and for our commitments!

OM SURYAYA NAMAHA

Posted by Jess at 6:47 PM
Namaste friends!



   Last week we were paying homage to the sun in our yoga practice.  It's spring in my neck of the woods. (Well trying to be at least) We are trying to work through Kapha season, inviting the sun into our being. So we practiced some pranayama that stimulated the sun channel and some warming postures to get the heat going in the body. We practiced several rounds of Surya Namaskar ( Sun salutations) to honor the sun as well as stir the fire up in our being. So if you are new to yoga or you have been through your share of Sun Salutes, here is the practice you can squeeze in before your morning cup of tea or coffee to wake that fire inside!




Beginning from left to right.

 Stand at the top of your mat. Take a few deep breaths, offering up a prayer of gratitude to the sun that provides us life and light. Or you can chant the mantra- Om Suryaya Namaha, "Om and salutations to Surya, presiding spirit of the Sun." Then as you move through the postures Inhale as you move into a posture that moves upward and exhale as you move into a posture that moves downward. Follow your own pace. Making this a moving meditation.


1. Tadasana- Mountain Pose (inhale and exhale)
2. Urdhva Hastasana- Upward Salute (inhale)
3. Uttanasana- Forward Fold (exhale)
4. Ardha Uttanasana- Half Forward Fold (inhale)
5. Plank/Chattarunga Dandasana- Four Limbed Staff Pose (exhale)
6. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana- Upward Facing Dog (inhale)
7. Adho Mukha Svanasana- Downward Facing Dog (exhale)
8. Ardha Uttanasana- Half Forward Fold (inhale)
9. Uttanasana- Forward Fold (exhale)
10. Urdhva Hastasana- Upward Salute (inhale)
11. Tadasana- Mountain Pose (exhale)

Practice as many rounds as you would like and feel the sun inside grow!




As you continue reaching for the sun this spring, contemplating these beautiful words:


The Sun Never Says

Even after all this time
the sun never says to the earth
"You owe me."

Look what happens with 
a love like that.
It lights the whole sky.

                   -from The Gift by Hafiz