Tapas

Real change happens when your heart is committed and you’ve dropped the mind’s negative chatter such as I can’t…, I will never be able to…, I should have…, or It’s too late…

If you want it, you can have it –whatever it is.  The key is Tapas. And in many situations, Tapas often relies upon its close friends, patience and optimism.  Tapas is a lot of work but with patience, commitment and a shift in attitude, anything is possible.

Tapas is Sanskrit for discipline.  As the 3rd Niyama listed in Patanjali’s eight-limbs of yoga, I often think Tapas should be the first.  To fully experience Saucha (cleanliness) and Santosha (contentment), which are the first two Niyamas, mindfulness and full-attention are required.  True discipline (tapas) commands that we are attentive in the moment.

Many times discipline takes months, or even years, of baby steps until we actually reach the top of the mountain.  Discipline asks that we commit to what we are doing in the present time even if it’s uncomfortable or feels risky (i.e., holding Natarajasana 15 breaths or Headstand for five minutes).   As David Swenson said during a Yoga Journal Workshop I took a few years ago “There are fears that keep us alive, and there are fears that keep us from living”.

Getting through the event or achieving the goal that required a committed, disciplined effort, often gives us an energetic rush of confidence and enthusiasm.  The result is we start to realize we really can climb the tallest mountain and do it all!

With the practice of Tapas, our mindset shifts to positive and we feel energetically charged and inspired for what’s to come in life.  This attitude gives us the mantra “anything is possible”.  The key is Tapas.

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