Monday, January 12, 2009

Vriya, Tapas

Joy has encouraged my teacher training class to attend one of the once-a-month 'Full Moon Yoga' classes. This classes are taught by Rae and are a very different style from the usual classes. I planned to get this class done today, but the I woke up sore, stiff and very tired. I felt like I needed a nap the whole day. I just kind of meandered through the day's work.

I really didn't want to go to yoga tonight. By 5PM I was talking to AM while he put dinner together and thought about not going to the class. It was a late one too, starting at 7:35 and going past 9PM! Dinner didn't help with the heavy tiredness in my body.

What helped were two things that I try to include in my practice, Vriya and Tapas.

Vriya, which encompasses the idea of energy, diligence and effort, is one of the Paramitas, or Perfections in Buddhism. One of the six qualities of an enlightened being, Virya is the sustained energy of practice over a long period of time.

Tapas, which can be translated as "Burning Effort", is one of the Niyamas and is what we feel after holding some asana for several breaths and we stay with it; the warmth in the shoulders many breaths into adhomukha svanasana. It is also the constancy which keeps the fire of our practice burning over years and years.

Vriya and Tapas are what bring me to the cushion, to the mat, again and again.

My reward tonight was discovering that Rae's class was very closely modeled after classes in Kripalu style I'd taken for some time at Yoga Shala. I really enjoyed Sarah's classes a lot, but the effort to make it over to SE PDX from NoPo after getting to the house from Downtown -- it had just become such a chore that more and more I was finding myself making excuses to not have go out again into traffic to try and get to a class. Since she's changed where she teaches, now days my schedule just does not align to allow me to take classes with her.

Eventually I started studying at Prananda, at first because it was so close to the house. I've stayed and deepened my study at Prananda because of how welcoming the space and the people all are (teachers and students). Tonight's class was a nice visit back to a style of yoga I enjoyed a lot and have missed.

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