Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘yoga balance’

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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Moving Into The Back

Posted by terrepruitt on November 9, 2013

In addition to teaching Nia classes for the city of San Jose, I was asked to teach a Gentle Yoga Class.  I have taught three sessions and we have one more before the year is over.  This last session before the holiday break is a short one, it is only four weeks.  In the classes there is a large variety of fitness levels.  Regardless of one’s level of fitness I believe it is very important for the emphasis to be on balance and flexibility.  They also like to practice inner reflection which I believe enables a connection to the body.  The connection is to allow for great stability and ease of movement.  In order to meet the varieties of levels we do a cross between flowing through poses and holding them.  I might have also mentioned before that we include getting up and down as part of our practice.  With this next session we are going to do a progression of backbend poses.  I have not yet decided on the progression of balance poses but I have the backbends progression planned. Since we only have four classes and there are five backbends I would like to progress through we will be doing two in the first class.  As with my Nia classes, my yoga students are continually encouraged to do things in their own bodies way.  Since yoga is a practice they can work into the poses.  For the series of backbends they will be encouraged to stay at the level that is acceptable for their own body.

The first backbend we will do will be the standing backbend.  Then, in the same class, we will progress to the Locust.  The Locust has many modifications some of which can be done with just legs lift or the head and shoulders lifted.

Then in our next class we will move onto the Sphinx.  I’ll probably include the Locust in the routine before moving on to the Sphinx, but the Sphinx will be the next in the progression.  Then the next meeting we will move onto the Cobra.  Excellent for strength, stability, and flexibility.  The last class before the long holiday break will be the Upward Dog.  Even though the idea will be for the students to progress through the backbends the modifications will be presented so each individual can progress only if they are ready.

Some students participate in yoga more than once a week so they are more likely to be able to participate in the progress whereas others will do so to a lesser extent – and modifications meet that need.  This is a great way to work on flexibility.  Everybody is moving in their own natural time through their yoga practice so I am excited to present this progression of backbends.  I will include other flexibility poses and balances poses as in all the classes.  I have been putting the emphasis on one or the other during a class which can still tie into the backbend progressions.

Of course, this is my plan prior to meeting with the class.  It could be that after our first meeting I have to adjust my plan and that will be fine.  I do like to see where the class is at and go from there, but it seems like our group has been pretty consistent.  But I can easily adjust my plan for any new body.

I am very grateful and inspired by the students that come to class every week.  It is very exciting to me to see their progress.  Stay tuned for more on the poses that I have yet to post about.

Do you participate in a yoga class?  How is it structured?  Is it an on-going class or is it a series of classes?

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