This episode is part of a course.
Living the Yamas and Niyamas Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 10

Tapas (Self-Discipline)

45 min - Practice


We stoke the fire of transformation, tuning into Tapas or self-discipline. We begin with fluid movements to release tension and warm and mobilize the joints before moving into an energizing and heating practice that focuses on arm, leg, and core strength.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hey there, welcome back, nice to see you again. This is day eight, tapas, alright, this is the third niyama. So we've gone through now seven, if you've been working with me in order, and I'm kind of curious how you're feeling, right? Check in with how you've been applying, if you have been, how your body feels on and off the mat, alright? So if you feel like giving me a shout, send me a message, let's connect.

But let's work on tapas today, okay? So tapas to me is this powerful like self-discipline, it's passionate self-discipline, okay? It's a lot about like transformation, right? And transforming, changing requires this like inner fire, inner heat, inner passion, okay? So that's the way I look at it.

So if there's anything in your life that you are embarking on that needs that like, right? That stoking of the fire, that energy, that excitement, right? Maybe the practice of tapas, you go back to the practice of tapas, okay? So with all that said, this practice that I've designed today for you is all about that. It's like preparing the body, right?

We want to have a healthy, mobile, strong, energetic body so that we can embark on that endeavor with passion and strength, right? So this is going to be some freestyle movement, a little bit different than some of the other practices. So let's begin, okay? So to start off with, make sure you're on a good floor, good solid floor, because we're going to do some light little bouncing, alright? But we're not going to bounce on our heels.

You're going to lift your heels up and start to kind of like bounce on the balls of your feet and maybe kind of shake the arms out a little bit. So all this right now, the beginning part of this practice is literally about bringing some heat, some blood flow into the body, although the blood is already flowing, right? But we just want to kind of like heat it up a little bit, heat up the blood. We can shake out the wrists, you know? I don't know if you're doing this first thing in the morning, but I know that when I'm kind of like getting my day started and I've got a big day, right?

I want to kind of like do this type of movement. Right away, get up, start moving, alright, maybe you get your coffee first, fine. Maybe take the arms up a little bit, right? Little mellow jumping jacket, that doesn't work for you. Literally like step out and in and lift, like make it your own, okay?

So this is really, again, I'll say it one more time, one last time, warm your body up. Okay, we'll do this for about 10 more reps, we'll call them, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, good job, 3, 2, and 1, good. Now take your knees, bring your knees nice and high. So this might seem like exercise, and it is, but we'll add some yoga movement in there. And you know, actually it's all, all movement can be yoga, it doesn't matter what you're doing, right?

It's the quality, the intention, the purpose, okay? Let's take some shoulder swings now, so swing the right arm back. So think about maybe like in the pool, you're doing a big backstroke, already heart rate up, building a little sheen of sweat, feels good, take the arm forward now. So we want to get these joints kind of hydrated, do the left arm. It's normal if this is early morning for you to feel a little, you know, a little sticky, a little uncomfortable, so work with what you've got.

Left arm comes forward now, and I feel your way through it. Like you would any yoga practice, right? And now we'll take some little side swings, warm up the spine, embrace the core while you're doing that. Nice. And while you're building into the practice here with me, as I am with you, you can think about how you can apply this energy and this focus to your day, to that thing, right?

That thing you're working on. Could just be you're going to work, right? And you need this energy and you need to kind of shift your focus a little bit. All right. Roll the wrists a few times.

Roll the wrists up and down and all around, spread the fingers out, take the arms up overhead, take a side bend. Actually when you do that, take the left hand and grab hold of the right wrist joint. Pull on the wrist joint and come over to the left a little bit. So you're actually kind of massaging that right wrist joint, maybe even pulling it and extending it. Good.

Switch sides. While you're doing that, you're not looking to go so far. It's just a little movement over to the right. Good. Take the arms all the way out, back behind you, interlace your fingers.

Grab a towel or a belt if you need. Pull the shoulders back. Take the feet kind of wide. Bend the knees a little bit and we'll take a little forward bend. Drop the head as best you can and fold forward, stretch out the back.

You can bend the knees one at a time, side to side. Try to move through the entire body, getting it prepped for the day, for the job, for the task at hand. Relax the arms down, head down, roll all the way up. Take the arms up overhead. You can keep this wide stance, arms up overhead.

Breathe in, breathe out, palms right at the center of the chest. Two more. Breathe in and breathe out. One more time, inhale and exhale. Good.

So we'll come right back into those little bounces one more time and then we'll switch it up. So little bounces, shake out the shoulders, shake out the wrists, move the head around a little bit, maybe even do these little side twisty things. That feels kind of nice on the waist. And while you're doing this, right, you're keeping your core nice and braced. Get in that habit.

Let's take 10 jumping jacks, all right? Arms up overhead, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one. Nice. Are you still with me? Okay, good.

I'll take that as a yes. I heard you. All right, we're going to come to the front of the mat. We're going to step back into these lunges, all right? So the first one, we'll take that left leg, step it back, get a good long stretch first.

Step back, take the arms up overhead, grab that left wrist with the right hand and take a little side bend. All right, we do that. Step back up, step the right foot back now. Get your balance. Left hand on the right wrist, up and over to the left.

Good. Wake up that side body. We're going to do two more on each side. So step up with the right, step back with the left, drop those hips down to open up that whole channel on the left side from the left knee all the way up to the left hand, right? Back up with the left, back with the right.

And while we're doing this, you know, I haven't really cued you into any specific breathing. Just find a good breathing pattern that supports the movement we're in. Step up, step back with the left, drop into the lunge. Good. Left foot forward, now the right foot back.

One more time. Good job, right on. Step up with the right. Okay, arms up. One more time.

Big breath in. Exhale. Palms grounded at the center of the chest, at the heart. My favorite are coming up. We actually haven't done them together.

If you've been with me all along, not one squat. So here we go. A little body squat, but we're going to do these with like this malasana yoga position. So the heels stay on the edge of the mat, toes come off, all right? Now the idea here is maybe take the arms out in front of you, you're going to lower your seat back.

So start to think about pushing your seat back and hinging at the hips, back into this imaginary seat, lower down, keep the core braced and your spine nice and upright. And on the exhale, draw the arms all the way down by your legs, by your thighs. Breathe in, lower down. We're doing 20. That's two.

Inhale, lower, exhale. Every time you come up, let's actually pause here for a moment. I want you to draw the tailbone down, squeeze those glutes, shoulders back, ribs hugged in. Every time you come up, there's this neutral and very engaged, strong position. Inhale, lower, exhale on that, rise up, creating tension.

Every time you come up, let's call that nine, 10, 11, exhale, 12, exhale, 13, 10, 11, exhale, 13, exhale, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Good job. All right. Another one of my favorites, I'm going to, I'll face you on this one, my feet are pretty wide on your mat, okay? You'll have to figure it out as we start to move into them, but we're going to do this without the hands unless it's very helpful for you.

So it's a little side lunge movement here. So you're going to open your toes out 30, 40 degrees or so. The movement is pushing the hips back, back and over to the right side. So you can push the hips back, arms can reach forward like we did in the squat. See how my knee stacks over the right ankle?

Make sure yours does that also. Now push through your right heel to come up. Pushing through the heel turns that glute on, right? We're looking to kind of fire that area up. So we create a good strong base in the body, it's important.

Never skip leg day. Good, push through the heel, boom. When you come up, just like the squats, maybe it's like this nice moment of full body tension, muscular effort and tension. Breathe in, breathe out, good, breathe in, breathe out. Five more on each side.

So we want you to feel this, five, good, four, three. Let's pause for a moment. This is never compromised. This whole section here of your body, I don't care what shape you're in, I want you to feel it as a brace. This is the brace.

As you breathe in, this is completely braced the whole time. And as I breathe out, even more so, all right? Breathe in, breathe out. Two more on each side. Find your depth.

One more. Good job. All right, you probably, if you're working at your level and finding your modifications, probably feeling already a little bit like pumped up, right? Great way to start the day. Okay.

Let's compliment what we did with the bent leg stuff with a forward bend. So take your feet pretty wide, you want to stretch the hamstrings out a little bit. Bend the knees, tip the pelvis forward as you hinge the upper body forward, forward, forward. If you'd like to stay here with the flat back, stay here, fingertips on a block or some kind of surface or even a chair. Okay, if you're going to come all the way down, exhale, let your body fall forward.

Good, a few deep breaths. Remember to keep that, you know, the left leg and the right leg slightly bent. You could even like to relieve the hamstrings like we do in downward dog is bend. So we do these little mini lunges from side to side. Relax the back of the neck, the head.

Taking care of yourself, building strength, right? We got to go into these uncomfortable moments so that it becomes a, it's like a good habit we're creating. We feel a little uncomfortable, right? It's difficult. We bring that heat into it.

We bring that strength that we have so we can move through, move over through, whatever it is. Okay. So one more breath here, maybe even come up halfway onto those fingertips and exhale, flush it out. Come up again halfway. Now your back is nice and flat.

We're going to move through some rotations. So bring the right arm high, okay, right arm to the sky, left fingertips on the floor or a block. Okay, now bring the right hand down and prop yourself up so we enter this with a long spine like a half lift, yeah? And then rotate the left arm, oh good. Keep working through those little sticky spots you've got.

I've got them. I know you've got them. We all have those spots. We wake up in the morning and it's a little bit, a little bit uncomfortable. So good thing about doing this type of practice is that we bring the heat right into the body, some fluid into the joints, feel a little bit better.

One more on each side. Keep those legs strong, good. Left arm up, there. Breathe in here and exhale it, all the way down, nice. Walk the feet a little bit closer together, actually almost in like that squat position.

Bend the knees, plant the hands on top of your thighs and come up like you're in like a sports huddle, right? Even if you've never played sports, you've seen it, right? We're all huddling around. Now this position here with your legs kind of wide, knees bent. We're going to draw the right shoulder forward, forward and toward the left toes.

So this is going to potentially feel nice in the back. And then you exhale that left shoulder forward and down, good. One more time to the right, so you're also kind of like pushing the hip open, to the left, to the left, to the left, okay. Strong base, rise up, look at that, heat, sweat, tapas, all right, so let's continue. Come to the front of your mat, okay.

Now arms up overhead for mountain pose, best day ever pose, because today is the best day ever. Take a side bend again over to the left and over to the right, and remember from the beginning I let you know we're kind of like freestyling here a little bit. So if you find a moment where you're like, oh, I love that, that feels good, stay with it, do more of them if I'm not offering a lot. Now bring those arms up one more time, keep them up high, breathe in, and now exhale with bent knees forward and down, forward bend. Come into your flat back on the breath in, exhale, step back into downward dog.

So now we add a little sun salutation to the mix here, soft knees, straightening one leg, bending the opposite, good, always looking to keep the fingers spread wide, the arms nice and solid, chest toward, toward, toward the toes, so we get that length in the spine. Now come forward into plank pose on the breath in, keep your belly nice and braced, exhale, lower down, all the way down. Point your toes back, come up for a little cobra action, keep the head in line with the spine, nice, exhale, tabletop, inhale, cow pose, so we move the spine, create some good healthy mobility into cat pose, spread these shoulder blades wide, draw the tailbone down. Moving it forward into cow pose once again, that gentle U shape, exhale, cat pose. Inhale back into a neutral position, curl the toes, downward facing dog, very nice.

Look to the front of the mat, begin to walk, step, you can even jump if you're kind of excited and you want to get there, right, forward fold, exhale, inhale to your good long beautiful spine, exhale, fold, inhale, rise up, chair pose on the exhale, so this chair pose you're going to bring the arms out in front of you, feet are hip width, sit back into an imaginary chair, okay, so ground those feet down, in fact like spread some imaginary paper, newspaper apart with your feet, that'll ignite those outer glutes quite a bit, pull the shoulders into the back body, neutral spine, so try not to send the tailbone up too far, right, and try not to tuck it too much, just like downward dog, sit a little lower into that imaginary chair, work the legs a little bit, stoke the fire, engage your core, now press down through the feet to rise up on the breath in, breath out, forward and down, inhale flat back, exhale plank pose, now here's where you've got to personalize it, if I were there in your home with you I'd give you the best tutorial I could possibly give but for now, your version of plank or push-up, but we're doing five push-ups, okay, so inhale lower down, exhale one, inhale lower down, exhale two, exhale three, exhale four, do your best, exhale five, now come down to your forearms for forearm plank, this is where you got to stoke that fire, right, we want change, we've got to move into it, it's uncomfortable sometimes, bring that fire with you, burn yourself right through it, in the most positive beautiful way, burn yourself through it, okay, walk back up onto your hands from forearm plank, strong, committed, passionate, right, exhale lower down halfway, upward facing dog, turn those fingers out a little bit, spread the shoulders wide, exhale downward facing dog, right about now it might feel nice to take a complete breath in and a breath out, look forward inhale, step, step to the front of the mat, forward bend exhalation, flat back, half lift, inhale and exhale fold, rise up, breathe in, chair pose breathe out, arms can stay up over the ears or alongside the ears or down out in front of you, you choose, sit down into that imaginary chair, pull that newspaper apart, get those legs working, tremble a little bit, shake, struggle, right, struggle but then pull, pull from that core strength, pull from that like fire, right, you're passionate, you're driven, you're focused and you won't let a little chair pose stop you, do not turn around and walk out on yourself, I remember a yoga teacher said that when it was a challenging moment because I was about to walk away, get out of that pose but I didn't, I stayed with it, good, now power down to rise up, breathe in, one more forward fold as you breathe out, inhale to your flat back, inhale there, plank pose as you exhale, all right, we're going to take one moment on the knees, I think it's fair to me or fair of me to let you know that instead of a push up, a really beneficial position you can move in and out of is what's called a scapula push up, really, really beneficial okay, so if you can hold yourself in a plank on your knees or in full plank you can do this, so it looks a little something like this, right, so plank pose, protract your shoulders out as wide as you can, pull in and brace through the belly, keep your arms straight the whole time and then keeping the arms straight you drop the chest forward shoulder blades toward one another and you do that, it's like a lizard, right, it's called this scapula push up, protraction, retraction, super beneficial, so if you really struggle with the push up do that, we're going to do 10 push ups now or 10 scapula push ups, alright, so your hands can be shoulder width, maybe take them a tiny bit wider, okay, so we're going to do 10, so figure out the best possible way for you to move through 10, 5, 4, 3, whatever number works for you, okay, so let's do it together, they're one of the best body weight exercises you can do in my opinion, so let's go, 10 times, breathe in as you lower, breathe out as you push up, breathe in as you lower, out as you push up, 2, exhale 3, exhale 4, exhale 5, stop here for a moment, if you're in plank keep those legs really locked in and strong, keep the core braced, 5 more, 5, exhale 4, exhale 3, exhale 2, exhale 1, downward dog, good job, give yourself a pat on the back for whatever you did, keep it positive, you're doing the work, showing up for you, yourself, plank pose and we'll take it all the way down, nice, okay, when we think core we generally think six pack abs right front of the body, core is also considered in the back body as well, so I want to work on that with you here, these are called locust rows, so start off by keeping or bringing the arms 90 degrees, elbows directly out from your shoulders, palms facing down, point the toes back, press the tops of the feet firmly into the mat, so much that your knees might actually lift, you feel your legs nice and strong, pubic bone, press the pubic bone down into the mat, engage the glutes, now lift your arms, so you start to feel your arms lifting toward the ceiling in your back, your upper back, beginning to engage, you can stay here to minimize the low back, compression or lift the head and just a little higher, pull the elbows higher, the arms, forearms higher, good, now inhale, lower down, reach your arms forward, exhale, bend the arms, lift the arms, lift the chest, pull the elbows now back toward your heels, nothing to see forward, so keep the head in line with the spine, we're going to do four more, inhale, lower, exhale, lift and pull, inhale, lower, exhale, lift and pull, strong back, exhale, lift and pull, let's do three more, my count is off but three more will benefit all of us, exhale three, exhale two, exhale one, stay up, interlace the hands behind your back for locus pose, pull the shoulders away from the neck, keep your feet down or begin to lift your legs, a little bit, point your toes back for five, four, three, two and relax, make a pillow with your hands and rest your forehead heavily on that pillow, heavily meaning just let the whole weight of your head relax into the hands, take a full breath in and breath out, using the breath here to restore, come back into a comfortable rhythmic breath, reduce the heart rate a little bit, slide the hands into what might be cobra position, lift up for cobra, maybe even into upward dog, if you're feeling it, open up the chest, head from side to side, good and back into child's pose, knees, I would bring the knees pretty close together, thighs pretty close together so that you can rest your belly, your chest onto your thighs and round out the back, hands back toward your feet, forehead down to or toward the mat and knees, may need to breathe a couple of clearing breaths to find that space to get into the pose, okay, come on up onto kneeling pose for a moment, hands and knees, okay, table top, we'll take our final downward dog of this session, so curl the toes and lift it up, this is one of my favorite poses because it does act as an inversion so you do get some blood flow down to the head and if you can get into this posture in a way that feels like a resting pose, you hear it a lot in classes and teachers say it quite a bit but for some it really is a struggle so I'm not assuming it's comfortable for you but it can be, relax the shoulders a little bit, we don't need to push so hard into the arms, move the head around a little bit, three more breaths, move the head so that you're just always aware of tension, unnecessary tension in the neck and the head, one more breath here and let it all out, knees come back down to the ground, so let's push back into our final child's pose of this session reach forward, push your hips back as far and down as you can, stretch those fingers forward so you get that side body stretch on each side, okay and let's come onto our seat, so come on out of that pose onto the seat, bring your feet to the front of your mat and take a forward bend, reach forward grab hold of your knees, your shins, your ankles or your feet wherever you can reach to, okay we're not going to tackle this pose big time we're just taking a little forward bend and we're going to exit, don't worry we're coming back, we're going to exit by bringing the arms forward, we're going to tuck the chin, it's almost like you're trying to draw the tailbone under, okay so it's tuck the chin, tuck the tailbone under, roll down from your butt to the low back to the middle of the back and all the way down, reach the arms up overhead, breathe in, exhale come right back up, forward bend, good, down, reach up overhead, inhale, exhale one more time, roll up, there's that one spot that can get you, so help yourself out, okay take one more breath here in your forward bend and let's roll all the way back down the same way, arms forward tuck that chin and roll with control, very good, arms straight up, we've done this core exercise before, okay it's that alternate limb extension, it's also called dying bug but I don't love that name but it does kind of look like it so it's appropriate, legs 90 degrees, arms straight up, low ribs drawn down toward the mat, so solid solid solid in that core, okay, now extend the right leg out, left arm back, get that full extension while keeping your core firmly braced, exhale back to neutral, left leg right arm extended, exhale, left arm right leg extended, exhale just a little hit of core here, left leg right arm extend, keep it into the midline, grounded grounded grounded, low ribs hug in and neutral two more on each side, left arm right leg, you could even lift your head and shoulders to ensure those ribs downtown, bring it back to neutral, left leg right arm, extend extend extend work and back, good, left arm right leg, lift the shoulders if you're doing it, lift lift lift, contract the core and back and now last one, left leg right arm fully extended out, engaged in the core and boom, nice, draw the knees into your chest for a brief brief moment, feet come back down to the mat below the knees, press up for bridge pose, retraction of the shoulder blades so you draw the shoulder blades closer to one another, walk your shoulders under you, your arms under you, hands can rest at your ribs or your belly, you can interlace your fingers underneath you if you'd like, as I said in a prior video, it's not my favorite, sometimes it does get into my neck in a weird way but right now it actually feels pretty good, so you choose hands resting on your body or interlaced underneath you, hips lifting, good, draw the knees kind of forward to lengthen through those hip extensors we'll call them, chest open, breath alive, release the hands, release the shoulder blades, slide on out on the sweaty mat, lift your heels and slowly roll down like you're placing one vertebrae at a time down to the mat, so good, left ankle on top of your right thigh, take your left hand and push that left hip open, so the left hip you're kind of guiding safely your left knee and hip open, stay here or lift the right foot up, lift the upper body up so that you can clasp your fingers around your hamstring or maybe even your shin of the right leg right below the knee and then once you're up like this you might want to take a breath in and exhale, keep the left toes pointed up, exhale, draw those legs in toward you, curl the tailbone upward a little bit, nice, you can bring your right foot down, use your right foot to slide over to the left side of the mat, take a casual side bend or not a side bend but a side twist or a spinal twist so that left knee crosses over toward the right, left arm reaches out, nicely done, so whatever it is whether it's you know there's so many different things we could be working on as individuals that we're passionate about working on ourselves, our job or whether maybe we're a parent, we want to be really good at that or you want to go and travel right, the body is a very necessary tool and a participant in it so how can we tune it up and take care of it so that we can then have that kind of like passionate, strong ability let's say okay let's come back out, take the right ankle over the left thigh, basically you want the body to feel good and whatever you do if it doesn't it's all you can kind of think about is where all the aches and pains are, where the weaknesses might be, the injuries, draw the right hip open, you can kind of use your right hand to push it open and away, sometimes I work with people and this is just a subtle thing but it feels so nice, lift the left foot, good and to lace around that shin or hamstring of the left leg point your right toes up this helps to engage the right knee so to prevent any unnecessary funky injury as you pull the legs in toward the body obviously we're still breathing and caring for that part of the practice and stay here a little longer if you'd like or bring the left foot down, slide the hip open to the right or over to the right, okay right knee crosses the body right arm or right knee crosses over to the left right arm reaches out so final twist on our back let's bring it on out of there, situate yourself back on the center of the mat and once again alright we shall rest together so pick your most comfortable resting position that shavasana position maybe you straighten the legs, bring the arms out wide away from the body and you make all these little decisions so that your physical body is comfortable and once you feel settled there take a deep breath, exhale and let the breath begin to fade off into the distance as you rest your body in preparation for whatever you're moving toward and you could just be simply not simple at all but moving toward a deeper connection or deeper relationship with yourself through your yoga practice that requires a lot of work a lot of effort and a lot of showing up consistently relax your entire body let everything go no checklist no to-do list nothing right now besides rest start to wake it up now right so we take that little rest like a power nap almost you start to move back into your fingers your wrists your joints just like we did in the early on stages of the practice there's this mental strength and passion the body's ready and primed and open just enough rest just enough like energy that's come up to sit yes tapas just another really beautiful practice at teaching that you can take into your life make it your own and hopefully it's beneficial for you so this practice was about heating yourself up shaking things up a little bit moving into some of the challenging uncomfortable you know movements or moments right but you got this you got this all day right okay well I'm right here with you I've got you namaste


Debra D
3 people like this.
Hi Robert. It’s great to see you again. This practice was a lot of fun! I feel effervescently energised after it. Usually when I see “tapas” a (not so) little part of me goes, what?! More hard work?! But this felt different and a lesson to me that enjoyment can show up in unexpected places if you give it a chance. Hope you’re having a great day. I intend to! 🙌🏻
Robert Sidoti
"Effervescently energized", I have not heard that one, love it Debra !! Yes, enjoyment and pleasure can definitely show up in unexpected places - we won't know if we don't give it a shot - glad you stayed the course and stayed :) I did have a great day yesterday, will today as well as I hope you do too!! 
Christel B
2 people like this.
What a fun practice this was with some of your tapas wisdom intertwined.  Can't or don't want to think we're almost done with this series.  It's been great and we can always go back and repeat, al- though one always wants a "new" "fresh" one to check into.
Luna K
3 people like this.
I was about to quit as it is one of those days where you are feeling down. I had options though: go back to previous classes or give it a try... Here I am full of energy 👊🏽. Thanks 
1 person likes this.
Luna so glad you showed up here, and did sometime for yourself especially on a day you were feeling down. Thanks for practicing with us! xo, Ashley from Yoga Anytime
Anne Marie V
Thank you, Robert. I am hoping that there will be another challenge with you posted on YogaAnytime. I am so thankful for these sessions.
1 person likes this.
Anne Marie we'll have new content from Robert in the near future. Stay close!

Warm wishes, 
Ashley from Yoga Anytime :)
Ch Marie d’I
When it comes to push ups I did improve, but not yet there... one day ! A lot of energy for this one , end of my day, guess I will sleep better ;) 🙏☄️
Robert Sidoti
Keep practicing those pushups Ch Marie d’I  - one of the best full body exercises there is (in my opinion) - how was your sleep that night?? 
Kimberly M
Hi Robert, Decided to try something different today and tried this class out . I'm really glad I did! It was a challenge at 5:30 a.m.!!!
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