So what do Tapas and forward bending have in common? This week's classes are working with the third Niyama, Tapas. I am using the aspect of fiery determination, to face up to challenges honestly, without ego. Students are encouraged at the start to select an aspect of their practice they find challenging- e.g. strength, flexbility, focus, attitude, stillness, anything else- and try to find ways of challenging themselves in this area without taking it too far. Finding their own edge wth focus and detemination.
And to help them along, I included many forward bends, as generally, these seem to challenge quite a few students. This week straight legs are the priority. The discipline comes in limiting torso movement to keep quality spine alignment, not rounding the back- a real challenge for the ego! We are working with a variety of poses to connect with the sensation of pelvic tilt vs. back rounding, and sometimes working with closed eyes to help FEEL the movement, where your body needs to be vs. where you want it to be. Surely there are some life lessons in there somewhere! Just keep breathing...
Ruth is a yoga therapist and yoga teacher based in Cheltenham, UK. She emphasises yoga as a tool for well-being, for individuals and in her classes, in person or via zoom.