April 2018

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


This month’s theme at the Samarya Center where I practice yoga is tapas, a Sanskrit word meaning “heat.” In various traditions, it’s associated with austerity that leads to spiritual healing.

While the rest of the country bakes, it’s cold and cloudy in Seattle this Julyuary. However, I am hot.

I don’t mean sexy. I mean hot.

I’ve added camel pose and three sun salutations (I’ll do anything to get the sun to come out in Seattle—well, almost anything) to my morning yoga routine.

I haven’t done camel pose since neurosurgery five years ago, but Anna, my yoga teacher for my weekly one-on-one yoga therapy session, led me through the pose last week.

“Stand on your knees. Arch your back. Hold your ankles if you can.”

I did, and something in me opened that has long been closed. I felt a burst of heat that stayed with me for a couple of hours.

Anna and Dawn, who teaches my new class (my first yoga class since surgery) also led me through sun salutations, a series I haven’t done since surgery, either.

I think that sun salutations are to the sun in the sky, but with this series my inner sun glows, and I heat up.

If you’ve gone through hot flashes, you know the heat that I mean.

If you haven’t gone through hot flashes but have visited the sword maker’s home in Ethiopia, you know the heat. In the sword maker’s one-room home a constant fire to sharpen the blades burns.

If you haven’t experienced either of those but have travelled to the Ecuadoran jungle in the summer heat, you know this heat.

If you haven’t experienced any of this heat, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe you’ve been in a Native American sweat lodge. I hear they’re hot, too.

None of these experiences connect for you? I’m afraid that’s all I can think of, but if you can think of an experience that made you so hot that your lungs gasped for air, I’d love to know what it was.  

This heat radiates through my whole body. Well, everything except my feet, which are impervious to warmth.

This heat energizes me and warms me. I’m not napping as often.
I have so much energy that I stayed at dinner with Susan and Rod for two and a half hours last night.

(Austerity has also been part of this practice for me: for example, instead of getting my own hot fudge sundae with coconut, chocolate chunk ice-cream, the three of us shared.)

I’m healing.

1 comment:

  1. Can we please be austere again soon and share another hot fudge sundae? I have a craving that won't go away! And I was a bit befuddled that you let us stay out so late--you really ARE healing!!


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