It’s the middle of winter… It’s that time of year when the ugg boots come out, the red wine glass seems a little easier to fill, it becomes much more difficult to remove the covers and jump out of bed to hit your mat at 5am only to find that maybe the body feels a little stiffer than usual. I have had this conversation with many people recently about the tendency we have not to feel as great in our physical practice during winter and how discouraged we can become. What is it that creates the inner fire and self-discipline to defy the constant mind chatter to avoid practice and to just commit regardless.
That internal flame in Yoga Philosophy is known as the quality of Tapas. One of the 5 Niyamas, Tapas builds personal strength and willpower and helps us to become more dedicated to our Yoga practice and creates inner integrity. When the heat or inner fire of Tapas is ignited within, discipline, self-control and restraint is cultivated in our practice.
A common misunderstanding in todays Western World is that we always have to feel good, that Yoga makes us feel blissful, all the time. This can make us feel incredibly guilty and abnormal when we don’t. The journey of Yoga can be an intense, difficult and eye-opening journey of self-realisation. It was never meant to be easy. Sometimes we will shine lights on parts of ourself that we are not happy with. Other times we will feel awesome, proud of our commitment and the strength of our body and mind. David Garrigues recently posted and wrote perfectly… ‘One week you are springing out of bed to practice and the next you are dragging yourself to the mat. It is like being in an ocean where the current is deceptive. You think you are in control, in one place, and then in a snap you are downstream!… When you find yourself staring at this position, what do you do? You immediately start back in without regret and that is really what it means to walk the discipline, to seek a spiritual identity; you grossly fail and yet persist… You respond positively. And it is through the positive response of moving forward that wisdom emerges.’
As we choose an action that we know will benefit our body and mind even though we don’t feel like it or don’t feel 100% is actually itself an action of self-care and love.
The moral of the story… Often we may be discouraged from hitting the mat. We might feel like we are going backwards in our practice. The body is stiff and tired. The mind chatter is loud. But it is often during these times when the most benefit is found in our practice. We keep going.
As always, the teachers here at Fusion are there to support your ongoing Yoga journey with any questions about the practice you may have.
See you on the Mat.