Tapas literally means "heat" and is the third niyama of yoga. It can be translated as self-discipline, spiritual growth, or transformation.
"Practice, and all is coming." ~ Pattabhi Jois
But what are we practicing for? When is the last time you even asked yourself that question?
What are we preparing our bodies, minds, and souls for?
Tapas isn't just the fire in your soul that pushes you to keep showing up, to keep practicing, to persevere...it is also the fire that molds you. It is the fire that burns off bad habits and reveals character.
In the most trying and difficult times, we find ourselves humbled, but somehow strengthened. Unable to comprehend what is happening and unable to form a next step, we surrender to the fire. It leaves us with scars and it changes our very nature. But like the strongest steel forged, the fire strengthens us.
Somewhere between extremes is your center. Your practice is to find the place where you can remain firm and undisturbed while the fires rage around you.
Break down or break open.
We cannot prevent the coming crises, or ever know how they will turn out, but we can prepare ourselves. Using our breath, our silent strength, and our ability to stay present, we can get through almost anything.
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Tapas: Building Fire
Learn more about the Yamas and Niyamas: