“We don’t live to do yoga, we do yoga so that we may live more easily, joyously and gracefully” – Leslie Kaminoff, Yoga Anatomy
Hello you lovely, wonderful folk. Gosh, this month marks almost a year of covid and lockdown life. Of this being our world. A year of uncertainty, instability and fear.
But also a year of resilience and strength. a year of new experiences, new routines, new priorities. Its been a year of learning for us all and throughout all of it ive thought so much of you out there, with all of the different lives we are living and the individual circumstances we have navigated. And when I think of that, I think I can’t really comment on all this at all, because our situations have been so entirely personal and unique to us. Its taught me to invite more humility and respect for others, for you all.
I have been thinking, also, about a yoga principle called Tapah.
‘Tapah’ in yogic philosophy is seen as ‘that (in life and our own self) which we can control’, as opposed to that which we cannot control.
During all of this year, although so much of it has been out of our control, we have also, in a way, been granted with choice about that which we can control, because that has been all that we can do. Outwith working hours( if you’ve been lucky enough to maintain a secure job this year) we’ve had much more time. Without the usual rush and busy pace and commitments, and without our ability to do things outside of home, we’ve had much more time at home, to ourselves and/or with families and partners. We’ve thought about how we want to spend that time….we’ve got creative, we’ve baked sourdoughs, we’ve attended online yoga classes (thank you my dear teachers and my students), we’ve explored new walks, we’ve built friendships with neighbours we never knew, we’ve read those books, watched those films. Maybe on a bigger scale, we’ve began those courses, learnt a new skill, maybe we’ve sought that therapy we wanted, begun the inner-work, maybe we’ve started a family, renovated, ended that relationship. The point my dyslexic chatter is getting to is that we’ve all, at some point over this year, had to make a choice to put our excess time towards things we’ve wanted to do. And maybe we’ve never had the opportunity to really do that before?
We’ve become more aware and in touch with ourselves, and acted from that place. This is the practice of yoga.
Yoga teacher Leslie Kaminoff says Tapah is also the ability to ‘“remove obstacles” with “intentional change”. the intention may not have been so intentional for us, but the change has happened, maybe your obstacles have gone, or moved, and you feel better for it? Leaving you with more understanding. More awareness. About who you are, where you want to go? what you like, what you don’t like, what fuels you and what takes away from you. And from there you have made choices to change what you can. Tapah. To respond to life and take everyday in a way you want to. Tapah. It’s a bit like the lack of control this year, has helped us gain more control, within ourselves.
And this is of course, what yoga practice is; to practice from this embodied place within ourselves with awareness, understanding and intention. “So that we may live more easily, joyously and gracefully.”
I hope there’s something in amongst here for you. I’m so proud of all of us.