Do you wonder why most yoga classes, regardless of style, include chair pose, warrior one, and plank? Not only include them, but include MANY of them? Yoga classes are structured with intention, and these poses are intended to warm up the body and build tapas. Tapas translates from Sanskrit as “to heat.” Throughout your yoga practice, you are building heat from the inside and transforming. Much like when we heat up metal in order to solder it and transform it, building tapas in your body has the same effect. As you warm up, transformation happens.
Here are some postures to build tapas in the body:
Chair pose: Keeping your feet, knees, and thighs together, sit into your (invisible) chair. Look down at your feet and sit back deep enough to see your toes. Breathe as you begin to stoke your fire. Your legs will warm up almost immediately. Stay here for 3-4 breaths.
Plank Pose: Stack your wrists/elbows/shoulders in a plank position with your toes tucked under. Press into the mat with your palms and draw your tailbone down towards your heels. Engage your core and begin to heat up your body. You can start by holding plank for 10 seconds a day and work up to one minute!
Warrior Two: Step your left foot forward and line up the outside of your right foot with the back of your mat. Open your arms wide and begin to bend deep into your left knee. Press down equally into both feet. Feel your arms and shoulders warm up. Look out beyond your left fingertips. Stay here for 1-2 minutes using deep breaths to commit to the posture and commit to building tapas.
More poses that build tapas: boat pose, warrior one, crescent lunge, wheel pose, bridge pose, camel. These poses can be done individually or in a flow. Hold each pose for 3-4 breaths to build strength and tapas. Read more on Yoga for Building Heat.
By Liz Skarvelis; All Rights Reserved @2017