Kundalini yoga: an Austere Practice


Image by Gurumustuk Singh via Flickr

This week we had a class on the Niyama “Tapas”. Tapas is loosely translated as austerity. It means doing things, sacrificing things, in order for a higher good. It’s hard for all of us to live in the middle-class 21st century without wanting everything we see…. yet we know that having everything will just mean more waste in the world. We know it is harmful to be materialistic. It is better to give up the physical comforts in search of a higher existence where we can know true happiness and peace without the bodily comforts.

Kundalini yoga teaches one to give up bodily comforts because a lot of the poses require tapas! You hold poses for long periods of time (5-10 minutes), and meditate for even longer (upto hours!)!

Our practice in this class consisted of pranayamas combined with asanas and dhyana. Jesus pose, for example, was combined with kapala bhaati, focusing on the 3rd eye chakra. Even when it is hard to continue holding one’s arms up at length, don’t give up. Be a tapasvi and push yourself.

Other poses included Eagle, smiling buddha, archer, and of course victory meditations, including a bhangra style meditation. We ended with a relaxation with light meditation, understanding that as we become more austere, we can spread peace to ourselves, families, communities, and the entire world.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Vickie
    Dec 06, 2009 @ 17:00:21

    HI Sowmya,
    Your blog is beautiful and very interesting to read. I love how you explain yoga in language that I can understand and thier connection to harmony in the world.

    =) *hugs to you girl*


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