I've seen several "definitions" of tapas - my favorites being heat, perseverance and austerity. We have to put effort into the world for our visions, goals, and dreams to come to fruition while simultaneously balancing with samtosha - discovering effort with contentment. It is important to recognize the difference between fantasizing about our future and truly setting ourselves on the path to creating our ideal reality. Kimberly Wilson discusses tapas in Hip Tranquil Chick as the heat that can bring change and allow for room to grow; she suggests it's connecting with tapas that allows us to stay mindful of our choices (and sacrifices) that help to move us along the spiritual path. Self observation and awareness is key as we define tapas in our own life. Dedicating our practice of asana, meditation, and study helps to keep consistency on the path to who we desire to be. I feel as if I reset myself on the path of who I want to be every single day. As crazy as it sounds, life sometimes gets in the way and I have to bring mindfulness to the choices I make and get back on the mat, sit for 10 minutes or journal first thing in the morning to reconnect and get back on my path. Instead of feeling out stagnant in any situation make the choices to put effort behind moving forward and discovering change.

The balance of contentment and effort is important in asana practice. If we force (in life and in asana) we often do more harm than good. As teachers, it's important to stay mindful of how we move our students into asana. Instead of demonstrating or cueing students to the "ideal" or most advanced level of any given pose and then giving modifications, start gently and give advancements. Rather than overwhelm, I invite you to underwhelm and then progress. Allow your students to want more of each asana and that will generate the heat of change in their body, mind and spirit.

What is your understanding of tapas or ways in which you've brought tapas into your life?

Popular Posts