Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Yoga with William

I just got home from Yoga with William. It was a great class like always... we worked on some standing postures, back bends, we worked with the movement of the back body.

Main points were moving shoulder blades down the back. William referred to the skin and surface... moving the skin of the back down and away form the ears and neck. When we worked the back bends the instruction was to lengthen the lumbar spine... sort of creating it's own traction. This is done by pulling the 12th floating rib up... simultaneously pulling the coccyx toward the pubic bone. This should tip the posterior ilium to a more neutral position. The way I understand it, this action should prevent pinching in the lumbar spine and stop lumbar from collapsing on the kidneys.

The other theme of the day was to practice with out striving... and if you can't stop, then recognize it. William has been talking a lot about striving in the past few months. My question was, what is the difference between striving and tapas?

There are five Yamas and five Niyamas, these are two of the eight limbs of yoga. Tapas is one of the Niyamas (rules to apply to individual discipline). Tapas means a burning effort under all circumstances to achieve a definite goal in life. It involves purification, self-discipline and austerity. William's answer was complicated, like always.

This is how I understood what he was saying. If you are striving to reach a goal, watch for Greed, Hatred and Delusion. I am not a goal oriented person, so I didn't think "striving" is something I needed to address. However... greed and delusion are two things that arise in my practice all the time. There is such a fine line between working to my potential and being greedy and delusional. When I say greedy... I mean using bad form to archive more... and when I say delusional I mean lacking the ability to recognize it. Hatred... I'm sure it is in there some where too, as much as I hate to admit it. Do I strive? I don't really know any more.

So, what is working to my potential with out stepping into greed? I guess that would be more self awareness. Awareness doesn't just happen, it has to be practiced.


AikiBudo said...

Wow, deep stuff Fawn. Very good.
Sounds like the Chinese approach of 'doing without doing'.

How about: Tapas is having the intention and putting in the (quality) time, but not forcing or rushing to the outcome (that would be striving) - more being in the moment or process of it. That's what I got out of what you said.

Oh, and frequent self-evaluation/ monitoring and your effect/ reaction to the people and events around you. Way cool.

Aaron Friday said...

Sounds like instruction to preserve balance and stay away from extremes ~ wise instruction in any culture. Any imbalance will be accounted for sooner or later, bringing one's progress to a halt. Balance is about performance, and vice-versa. Nice lesson.

Best Case Scenario said...

Wow, I loved this post. I don't practice yoga (yet) but these thoughts about striving are exactly something I needed right now. Perfect. Thank you for that.

fawn said...

Wow! Glad you liked the message! I am so lucky to have such an awesome teacher like William... not only is he super knowledgeable about alignment and anatomy... but also addresses the emotional processes we all experience as humans being.

William is a practicing Buddhist, he does a lot of seated meditation and talks about that in class. I could go on and on about this guy... I'll save it for another message.

Kettlebell Lady said...

Until I started to look at these blogs, I never would have guessed that so many "kettlebellers" are into yoga. Maybe I should pull out some of my's been a few years.

Aaron Friday said...

Bring your tapes with you on the cruise! Exercise dilemma solved. You can attack the bells when you get back.