The Discipline of Bees

yoga and beekeeping

I did my monthly hive check today.  Both my hives seemed healthy and pest free which is how you want them to start summer.  Today was the day I allotted to do it, so time wise I had to get it done, but they were a bit unhappy with me opening the lids.  It’s been hot and wet here and it was already getting dark and thundering at 9:30 in the morning.  I’m sure they could feel the barometer dropping and resented me interrupting their tight collection schedule.

I probably had distracted energy as well.  I was thinking ahead to my practice and how I had so many other things to do maybe I should skip it.  Except that I have my first kid’s class at the library coming up, and I needed to do a run through and see what I thought.  So it was time to take a deep breath and focus on what I was doing.

One of the hives had a bit of dead grass in the entrance.  It must have fallen when I cleaned away the grass that had been growing too close and several bees were diligently trying to drag it off the entrance ledge.  Once I popped the lid, the whole hive was engaged in activity of course.  One can’t watch a hive for any length of time without thinking of busy as a bee.  They are nothing if not busy.  Totally dedicated to the group effort, none of them ever takes a two martini lunch.

Patanjali’s sutra 2.1 starts with the word tapas (tapah svadhyaya ishvara-pranidhana kriya-yogah).  This usually gets translated as austerity or heat.  Within the context of svadhyaya (self-study), I’ve been applying it to myself as knowing where I’m weak and focusing my efforts in that area.  I get distracted, I overextend myself, and I push too hard.  Unlike in the hive, I don’t have a whole group of clones who’ve got my back.  I need to focus on the task in front of me.  I need to be able to work at a pace that I can maintain.  I need to allow myself the right amount of time for a job to be done well.  I need to keep the grass off my ledges, but not fall into the weeds in the attempt.

Of course once I got on my mat and actually started, my resistance fell away and it was a good practice.  My class will go smoothly and I opened up my hips a bit.  Just as for the bees, the rewards of your discipline are sweet.  Yoga and beekeeping are alike after all.


I'm a yoga teacher who specializes in making yoga accessible in the pool and on land. I also train and coach other yoga and aquatics professionals in aqua yoga. My teaching style is engaging, responsive, and fun. 

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