Sunday, March 16, 2014

Teaching the Yamas and Niyamas

I felt fully recovered enough to begin teaching yoga again in mid-January, and have now taught eight classes. I am truly enjoying teaching again.  I have been giving a series of classes centered on the Yamas and Niyamas, the ethical principles of yoga. The Yamas are ethical restraints: non-harming, non-stealing, non-lying, moderation, and non-greed. The Niyamas are personal practices to cultivate: purity, contentment, discipline, self-knowledge, and surrender to ultimate reality.

Last week’s class centered on Tapas, or self-discipline. Tapas is the will and discipline to do what it takes to achieve a goal. In the process, the heat of Tapas (Tapas can be translated as “heat”) burns off impurities. Everyone who has committed to a consistent yoga practice can feel the benefits of that commitment. It doesn’t even take that many classes before the changes in the body begin to be felt. We may also find that we feel calmer, more relaxed, and better able to focus in our daily lives, as well.
My students and I have braved record-breaking cold, snow, and ice for these classes. I think we have all enjoyed exploring the ethical principles of yoga together. My students continually impress me with the growth they show in their practice. I am deeply grateful for their presence, dedication, and openness to asking for clarification and direction. The continue to teach my as I teach them.