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Creating order in the disorder of life

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Harnessing the drive and discipline needed to achieve our goals. 

In continuing our journey through the social and personal code of ethics from Yoga philosophy known as the Yamas and Niyamas, we arrive at Tapas. 

The literal translation of Tapas is heat. Our understanding of it as a practice is the drive or fire that takes us through. Commonly compared to discipline, it is the push we need to complete the tasks that maybe we don’t want to do. 

We use Tapas to build out routines and habits in order to achieve our goals or dreams. The idea around Tapas is that it keeps us focused on our path or journey. We set our goal and then this is the driving force to get us there. Remember the translation to heat, so it is more than just setting up a routine, it is also the desire; the inner fire and resolve to stick to it. 

Tapas comes in to play most significantly when the going gets rough. It’s easy to stick to our plans when life is smooth sailing, but at the first bump in the road, we so often falter. Perhaps we have this incredible idea for a new business, design concept or invention and when the first prototype fails or we receive negative feedback, we just give up. 

Tapas helps us believe in our self and the path we are on. Tapas helps to ensure we don’t have regrets later on because we tried with everything we had. Even if that does mean we have to walk away at some point, the type of discipline cultivated with Tapas is to make sure that even in moving in a different direction, nothing is lost. This journey of life isn’t easy; cultivating Tapas into our life helps promote all that is good. It helps lead us from the darkness to the light. 

Tapas in action

Let’s reflect on the first few days of shut down from Covid-19

After the initial shock of losing out daily routines and trying to make sense of everything that was happening, we started to slip into new routines. We started to make some conscious decisions around how we were eating and drinking, to how much time we were spending in front of the TV, exercising or connecting with friends and loved ones. 

When we started to build our routines back up, we became more disciplined around what we knew were healthier choices which then started to create a bigger impact on our mood, sleep and even digestion. 

This is Tapas in action. 

Perhaps we even began some new projects or goals (like daily meditation) with a little more focus on sticking to our plans without our usual distractions getting in the way. 

As time passed and life started to get back to normal, consider how we have stuck to those goals or how they will continue to be part of our life when regular work schedules and extra-curricular activities come back into play. 

Tapas creates order out of disorder. It brings clarity and focus. It helps us move through the tasks we don’t necessarily want to do, such as cleaning our house in order to achieve what we want to have, like the peace and clarity of mind for living in a clean house. 

Tapas is not meant to be overwhelming, but quite the opposite. It helps create the structure to keep us from being overwhelmed. To fire us up with the inner drive and determination, to pursue with a vengeance, all that is dear to our heart. 

More Inspiration: Check out Lisa’s great article on exercises to ease neck pain.

Author: Lisa Greenbaum, E-RYT 500 is a YogaFit Senior Master Trainer, International Presenter and avid writer. She teaches yoga in Toronto.

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