An Insight into Tapas…(a yoga concept not a yummy little plate of food)

“Don’t get too comfortable” is strangely enough, a common saying. Why? Well, to take it from the yogic perspective, we just get stuck in our habits. We become lazy, not growing or evolving. We get so stuck that we become bored, fearful or even anxious. We are not really living.  This is the modern, western society swamp that many of us get stuck in. So how do we get out?

Tapas! This is the sanskrit word for austerity & heat. It is noted in the yoga sutras that we need austere practices to burn away that ‘comfortability.’ It is this comfortability that creates the dullness and according to yogic philosophy, the heat of tapas will help remove that dullness.  But austere practices can be a little harsh, eh? The definition of austere is severe, or stern, having strict discipline. Well thats classical yoga. Lets take it from a Tantric perspective.

Tapas is the fire that illuminates….The heat of tapas removes the blocks that prevent your authentic self from shining. So think about that! Try doing things out of the box, out of the ordinary so that you can become unstuck from mundane habits.  No matter how perfect you think you are, unless you are Buddha or somebody pretty clearly enlightened, you can still do some personal work.  Tapas may be a little uncomfortable at first, but with practice and personal observation, you will see its worth it! You will begin to LIVE.

Here are some ideas:

  • Get out into the woods, climb a tree or stick your feet into an icy creek
  • Do a powerful, sweaty yoga practice that makes your liver cry tears of joy!
  • Be still for a change–and observe your mind.
  • Read from the Upanishads (absolutely awesome sacred spiritual texts)  instead of watching ‘So you think you can dance?!” on TV
  • Fast from an unconscious habit (cheesy poofs when you are sad, complaining, being too ‘adult’ with your child instead of playing)
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