I’ve written about Tapas before, but there really is never any end to the depths of a yoga concept and as we change, our understanding of these concepts change as well. Tapas refers to the discipline, the heat we bring to our practice. Similarly to turning up the heat on a pot to get water to boil faster, when we increase tapas, we see quickened results of our practice.
I’ve often preached, and it remains true that we must be committed to detachment from results of our actions. This, however, does not mean to approach life or the practice with no game plan. With out some passion, some heat, some discipline, you will float in the abyss wondering why nothing is happening. In fact, things will happen, but undirected, you will not be able to learn or grow at any real speed.
I see this in class all too frequently. Heads shaking no. Defeated faces. Lack of real directed effort. To move forward in your practice, you must have tapas. This means showing up and taking a step forward each day, even, and especially when it feels uncomfortable. Before the moments of great growth, there is most often an unpleasant or unfamiliar feeling which will trigger the mind to tell you a story about why you should pull back. You shouldn’t. All progress happens by going outside your comfort zone. You do this in the name of discipline. When you have made an agreement to show up each day, regardless of the circumstances, and to take a step forward, this mind chatter has no power over you. This is beauty of Tapas. Leaning on discipline is an incredibly powerful skill. It’s an admission that you don’t have all the answers and a surrender to the process. Each time you resist the urge to listen to your mind’s stories they have less and less power over you. The power created by the self-realization that you don’t have to listen to the mind, that you have a will that is stronger than your internal fears, is incredibly strong and will give you the energy to do anything. For those of you who always ask me how I do everything, this is the answer: Tapas. Over time the habit of discipline becomes second nature both on and off the yoga mat. It becomes such an innate habit that you may even decide to commit to more challenging disciplines to continue to get the benefits conquering the mind.
Don’t give up! The biggest mistake people make in regards to commitment and discipline is to give up the second they break them. This is the whole problem with diets and New Years resolutions. (How did you do this January?) Most people make a mistake (because that is natural!!) and then punish themselves more by negative self speak and by giving up on their intentions. Become an EXPERT at discipline by reinforcing small successes with fantastic self speak and forgiving errors immediately and fully while continuing along your path. This is the SECRET to Tapas!
Share your thoughts on Tapas with me all month on instagram by tagging LANDYOGANYC and hashtag #ALLEIGHTLIMBS One of you will win a prize!