For many people, myself included, discipline does not sound very appealing. It sounds…strict, or even restricting.
But does it have to be that way???
Let me introduce you to one of the recommended daily habits for following a yogic way of life, otherwise known as a Niyama:
It sounds like delicious Spanish food, so we immediately relate it to something positive (just a happy coincidence). However in Yoga, Tapas means inner fire or purity. It is a fire that not only keeps you going but one that is considered to literally burn away negativity. It is an ego-free form of discipline. For example, we often find ourselves setting goals to be able to achieve a particular yoga posture, which would make us feel like an awesome yoga student = big headed yoga student. Whereas if you set the goal to practise yoga every day, you become less attached to the result and more interested in the journey of self discovery.
Discipline often makes us think of deprivation and all the things we CAN’T have to get a certain result…Tapas is in-fact nourishing for mind, body and soul, and when we lead with our heart, the ego will slowly diminish so we won’t feel like we are missing out on anything at all.
Tapas in Action
To every one of you who rolls out your Yoga mat when you are tired, when you’ve had a rough day, when you feel pushed for time, when you just-don’t-feel-like-it…you are exercising Tapas. It is the fire inside of you that continues to burn, that keeps you going on the path of self-discovery, regardless of what life throws at you. Remember, rolling out your mat doesn’t have to mean a vigorous hour of postures, it could mean 15minutes of meditation. Tapas will translate into each persons life differently, depending on what path you have chosen to follow.
It doesn’t take long to realise that Tapas, like your breathing, is a constant companion. Consider now, where you already exercise this “Niyama” in your daily life. Do you on a daily basis, do something for other people without seeking approval or recognition? Do you have a Yoga routine you stick to each week? Do you exercise Tapas in your eating habits by making choices that support your local community or the planet? Or are there areas of your life you feel that perhaps you need a little more fire?
The concept of Tapas is a beautiful one. Imagine a fire where self-destructing actions go to see their end. The result is heat; fiery flames bringing passion to your heart to continue on the path to true happiness.
Wishing you all a wonderful week,