• TAPAS •
The third of Patanjali's Niyamas, traditionally translated as ‘austerity’ or ‘discipline’. The word Tapas is derived from the root Sanskrit verb ‘tap’ which means ‘to burn’, and evokes a sense of ‘fiery discipline’ or passion. In this sense, Tapas can mean cultivating a sense of self-discipline, passion and courage in order to burn away ‘impurities’ physically, mentally and emotionally, and paving the way to our true greatness.
Tapas doesn’t have to mean being solemn and serious though, this fieriness is what gets our heart pumping and heightens our desire for personal growth.
First of all, ‘discipline’ doesn’t strictly mean pushing ourselves harder in a physical sense. Sometimes just actually making the time to get on the mat and meditate, or practise for 10 minutes every day is difficult enough! For some, Tapas will mean making time to be still and observing the mind, and for others it’ll mean working on strength and practising that arm balance we’ve been putting off.
Tapas is an aspect of the inner wisdom that encourages us to practise even when we don’t feel like it, even though we know how good it makes us feel! It’s that fiery passion that makes us get up and do our practice for the love of it, and by committing to this, the impurities are ‘burned’ away.
Making the decision to go to bed a little earlier so you can wake up early to practise is Tapas; not drinking too much or eating unhealthy foods because you want to feel good in your practice is Tapas; and the way you feel after an intense yoga class, a blissful Savasana and deep meditation? That’s Tapas too - ‘burning’ away the negative thought patterns and habits we often fall in to.
The discipline we learn on the mat is a fantastic lesson to take off the mat and in to every day life. Having the courage NOT to listen to the voices in our head that tell us we’re ‘not strong enough’ or ‘not good enough’ to attempt a more demanding pose or go for that new job opportunity is also an element of Tapas that ‘burns’ away those ‘impure’ thoughts, and leads to more self trust and inner strength.
- - - - - - -
Find your fire every morning Monday-Friday 6am classes @sona_yoga 🔥🔥🔥