This blog is derived from, GTY+W Teacher and 200hr YTT Graduate, Kim Cortese
Tapas…aren’t those small plates of food to be shared and enjoyed with friends and family? What does that have to do with yoga?
Not to be confused with those delicious appetizers and snack-sized portions of food, Tapas is a Niyama, which is one of the Yoga Sutras Eight Limbs of Yoga defined as positive behaviors, or observances, to incorporate into our lives.
And Tapas specifically is defined as self-discipline. Who just shuddered a little? We tend to think about self-discipline in a negative way; that we are denying ourselves something, abstaining or enforcing some type of control. But what if you transformed the way you thought about self-discipline.
Broken down in sanskrit, Tapas translates from the root verb tap, which means ‘to burn, to heat, to give out warmth, to shine.’
“Fanning away the inner fire to burn away the impurities.”
Tapas is a means to cultivate self-discipline, or passion and courage to burn away the impurities that stand between you and your greatness.
Impurities can be thought of as things such as:
Negative thought patterns or self talk
Stories we tell ourselves
Or even ignoring ourselves
“With burning comes growth.”
Let’s take a real-world example of burning to create for future growth. Farmers engage in controlled burning of their fields in order to create nutrients for future crops.
Just like the fields, with tapas we burn away to create space for new life and growth from within.
We find the strength, courage and passion to ignite the energy rooted in our manipura, the third chakra, that governs our self-confidence, inner strength, willpower and self-discipline…a place of transformation.
It is in this place of transformation, where we step out of our comfort zone and allow change to happen– truly listening and making consistent choices that have positive, long-lasting and profound impacts on our lives.
Self-discipline can be associated more with self-care and a path towards what is good for you, along with inviting accountability into your choices such as:
Recognizing vices and exploring ways to limit those activities or behaviors;
Identifying and creating habits that are healthy and positive for you, and those that can be long-term and enjoyable;
Understanding that some choices, changes and decisions will be uncomfortable, and challenging, but you are worth it. And there’s that old saying “nothing ever worth having comes easy;”
Being steadfast and diligent with your choices, knowing the decisions you make now for yourself, will pay off;
Remembering to be kind with yourself– observe, be patient, let go of what doesn’t work, adjust and reflect. There is no right way.
So every day: show up (for yourself), practice (be consistent), and trust the process (go with the flow).
“Remember birds are not born knowing how to fly.”
The choices you make in the present are your gifts for tomorrow. Be fearless and sit in your fire– listen; that fire burning inside you is trying to tell you something. Make choices that are good for you– mind, body and spirit. And be consistent. Make it easy for yourself. Start small using progress to fuel the next step. Consistency is key!
If you’re looking for consistency and accountability we’ve got you. GTY+W is a home for yoga and wellness, but it is a place filled with individuals– teachers, new yogis, advanced yogis…humans, who at the end of the day are all trying to figure it out and that’s what makes it not just a studio to practice but a community that is rooted in love and support to guide you on your journey of being the best version of you and living your best life.