What is the principle of tapas? You’ve read about the niyamas, and the tapas are one of them. the Sanskrit word “tap” means “to burn,” and the word “tapas” can refer to the fire within. That said, to cultivate tapas entails practicing discipline, commitment, and courage in one’s yoga practice. Practicing tapas, however, can run deeper than that.
How to Cultivate Tapas in Everyday Life
1. Build a movement routine that you enjoy.
You can practice tapas by showing up on your yoga mat and doing your asana practice. But in general, you can still practice tapas by simply building and committing to a movement routine. This can be running, dancing, or cycling. This can be Pilates, cardio, or resistance training.
Starting your movement routine is the hardest part, so it’s good to explore different modalities so you can find one that you best enjoy and worth committing to. There are many ways to stay motivated too—one way is to simply keep in mind the many benefits of movement and how it can positively impact your life.
The tapas are part of the niyamas because they reap a lot of emotional and spiritual rewards. Sticking to a movement routine can help you feel inspired, improve your relationships, and feel more calm and at ease.
2. Say no to your negative thought patterns.
Discipline and courage take internal work. When we slip into negative thought patterns, it’s easy to get swayed and swept by them. Practicing tapas means committing to your mindfulness practice, and remembering that you don’t need to be meditating at that moment in order to apply the principles of mindfulness and meditation.
It takes some effort to do it, but you can catch a thought and observe it without judgment. Notice it come and go, before moving onto the next thought. Remember the strength comes from within!
3. Stay compassionate amidst adversity.
Challenges and trials can bring out the worst in us. The more hurt, exhausted, and angry we feel, the harder it is to stay compassionate towards ourselves and others. Where does ahimsa come in?
Ahimsa and tapas can work together! Remember to stay kind to yourself even when you don’t feel like it. Make time to rest, take time for healing, and use the resources that help you recover and reset. So what is the principle of tapas? It is realizing that compassion does take a sense of discipline and that a practice is only a practice if it is constantly returned to.
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