Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Tapas’

Tapas – The Third Niyama

Posted by terrepruitt on March 11, 2016

Tapas, no, not the little plates of appetizers in Spanish cuisine.  But that is, honestly, how I remember this niyama.  I think, “What is the third one?  Oh yeah, little plates of food.”  As I have mentioned before, and this word is no different, you will probably see it spelled many different ways.  If you want to not confuse it with the little plates you could spell it Tapahs. Although, the Heart of Yoga, does link Tapas to food.  First he says that it literally means “to heat the body”.  He goes on to say that by doing so we cleanse it.  Another form, he says is “paying attention to what we eat”.  So that does kind of tie in with food.  The book further states that “posture, attention to eating habits, attention to breathing patterns are all tapas.”  I learned tapas as discipline.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitSo that would be discipline over your posture, eating habits, and breath.  The idea is that if you have discipline over all of these things you are purifying the body and practicing tapas.  The Heart of Yoga also says, “Tapas is often described as penance, mortification, and a strict diet.”

I like the way Connie Habash, talks about it in her article. She talks about tapas as being that fire that gets you to do things.  The inner flame that motivates you, she says.  That desire or discipline that has you doing chores or a daily workout even when you really don’t want to.  The thing that keeps you on track.  I am way more on board with that then “voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong”.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitWhich is good because I guess even though “tapas is often described at penance” it doesn’t mean penance or castigation” so it is mentioned later in The Heart of Yoga.  Basically we are disciplined with ourselves.  Not doing something (eating, exercising, working, playing) in excess.  Doing what we need to stay healthy, but not taking it overboard.  While exercising is a good thing it can be done to a point of making the body or mind unhealthy.  And that can be said of many things, as I mentioned work and even play.  If there is too much “play” then there is no balance.  Yoga is all about balance.  Things need to be in balance.  The yin and the yang.

The practice of tapas allows for balance as it is the discipline that keeps everything in check.  So, this is a brief idea of tapas.  Tapas is the third niyama.  There are five niyamas.  Niyamas are the second limb of yoga.  There are eight limbs of yoga.

I have mastered none.  I am just posting about them as a way to familiarize myself with them and a way to keep them and their ideas at my fingertips.  Yoga is a practice so these are things I can process for years to come.  I share them, too, as a way to introduce you to the other aspects of yoga.  Just like I share the principles and other things that make up Nia.

Can you easily see why yoga is called a practice?  🙂

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Yoga’s First Two Limbs

Posted by terrepruitt on January 25, 2016

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitIn my post earlier this month about there being More To Yoga Than Just Asana, I listed the eight limbs of yoga.  Two of those limbs, the first two limbs have five principles or observances associated with them.  The first limb is the yamas and they, as I mentioned in the other post, are sometimes thought of as restrictions.  The second limb, the niyamas, are sometimes thought of as rules.  But to me rules and restrictions are somewhat the same things.  Many rules seem to be made to restrict people from doing things.  So I am not sure that is a clear enough distinction for me.  Yoga is so ancient and many of the text have been lost, so there are many translations to things.  Another way of looking at the first two limbs: are the yamas are our attitudes toward our environment and the niyamas are our attitudes towards ourselves.  That is from T.K.V. Desikachar’s translation of the Yoga Sutra in The Heart of Yoga.

The five yamas are:

Ahimsa – non-violence, non-harming
Satya – truthfulness
Asteya – non-stealing
Brahmacharya – celibacy, chastity
Aparigraha – non-possessiveness, non-coveting, non-hoarding, non-clinging

The five niyamas are:

Sauca – purity, cleanliness
Santosha – contentment
Tapas – discipline
Svadhyaya – study of self
Ishvara Pranidhana – surrender to the Divine

These rules, restrictions, attitudes, whatever you choose to think of them as, are meant to be applied to our thoughts, our words, and our actions.  So, I am not really even sure there needs to be a distinction between whether it is a rule or a restriction.  But I do like the idea that one is related to an attitude towards our environment and one is related to an attitude towards oneself.  Although, I think all ten can be related to both.  Sigh.  I guess I will just stick to there really doesn’t need to be a distinction.

Each of these can be talked about in detail.  I am definitely going to be writing more posts on these.  Whether it is one post for all the yamas and one post for the niyamas, is yet to be seen, but I do want to share some of the ideas that were shared with me regarding them.  I would like to shed some light on how they can be applied to life both on and off the yoga mat.

Do you want to share any ideas about them?

 

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