Tapas is the third Niyama. Niyamas help you prepare for the practice of Yoga, and help incorporate Yamas – cardinal truths, in your yoga practice. They require conscious commitment to apply mindful action in life. Niyamas are the key to the practice of Asana in your everyday life.
Tapas means discipline. This is the process of inner cleansing and removing things that do not serve us anymore. According to Eknath Eswaran tapas is the “forgoing of immediate personal gratification for something larger and more worthwhile.” Understanding Tapas means accepting that you are in charge of your motivation, morale and responsible for consequences of your actions resulting from motivations. Motivation is intrinsic. Hence, tapas involves a choice or a will of embarking upon a journey to better ourselves, a journey that will bring challenges, discomfort, and pain before producing results. Why discomfort and pain? Because pain is a sign that we have reached the limits of our capability. Tapas helps uncover these limitations and shortcomings within us, embrace it, and stimulates introspection and growth.
Developing discipline is about embracing discomfort, limitations, and frustration – as a friend, teacher, or coach – that is associated with learning something new or the path towards growth. Tapas begins with the practice of Asanas, because regular asana practice helps instill discipline. Moreover, asana practice helps us observe the beneficial changes within our life and surroundings much more easily. Sign of progress is the motivation that is essential for continued growth.
Take this opportunity to inventory things in your life that do not serve you anymore and might be quite destructive. Reflect upon the desired future state and things that need to change, steps that need to be taken to reach the desired state. Incorporate asana practice in your everyday lives. Take control of your life and defeat inertia, or tamas.
About Kammitment: Led by scientist and life-coach Kamalesh (Kam) Rao, Kammitment helps one realize and make a commitment towards self-actualization, through tailored leadership coaching workshops and programs for students and professionals in all stages of their lives, by drawing upon the time-tested principles of Yoga and Mindfulness. Kam has spent 20 years as a scientist and a manufacturing industry professional in the pharmaceuticals industry, and continues to consult with the industry. In his free time he leads executive coaching programs for Fortune 100 clients. A certified Yoga instructor, Kam lives in Oakland, CA and is an active volunteer in the Bay Area community when he is not perfecting the next Pretzel pose in Yoga and its myriad benefits. For further information, please email [email protected]