As the chilly days of autumn and winter fall upon us, take the opportunity to PRACTICE one of the Niyamas of Yoga; Tapas. The definition of Tapas is ‘heat’ or ‘ fiery discipline’ or ‘a constant and intense commitment’ I call it fierce determination.
Tapas is a phenomenon of the body as well as the mind. This fire is what can keep you going even if you don’t feel like it. Getting to class sometimes can be the hardest part. Our mind will always come up with an excuse not to do something. I am too tired, I don’t have time, it’s too cold outside. If we can summon our tapas we almost always feel better and wonder why it was so challenging to get there in the first place.
When you are holding a pose and give up, feeling that you couldn’t possibly hold it one second longer, think about what might happen if you were offered one hundred dollars to hold the pose for one more breath. It is amazing how you can summon the strength when you really have to. We have all heard the stories of men and women exhibiting super human strength. Lifting automobiles, heavy machinery, even buses to rescue their trapped and injured loved ones. That is tapas.
Just as it is when you are starting a fire, it takes time. Collecting the wood, stacking the logs, fanning the flames, it is a process. Yet once the embers are lit, they generate more and more heat. When a new log is set on the existing fire, it takes very little effort to ignite. Tapas will grow over time and will be extended to other aspects of your life. That is the good news, we have the ability to redirect our energy. We can listen to all of our minds objections and then decide to do what’s good for us anyway. That tapas, that fierce determination exists within us at all times, we just have to tap into it.