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WHAT IS TAPAS AND HOW DO WE IGNITE IT?

may and june blog

The Niyamas are the second limb of Patanjali's 8 Limbs of Yoga. They are moral codes or inner observances that help keep us on the path of positive behaviour within ourselves. 

When we practice the Niyamas, we deepen our understanding and ability to bring our yoga practice into our daily life and move closer to living as the best version of ourselves. 

The five Niyamas

✨ Saucha - Purity and Cleanliness

✨ Santosha - Contentment

✨ Tapas - Self-discipline, burning enthusiasm

✨ Svadhyaya - Self-study, mindfulness

✨ Ishvara Pranidhana - Surrender to a higher power

You can read all about the Yamas and Niyamas in our previous blog post, here.

What does Tapas mean in yoga?

Today, we’ll take a look at the Niyama, Tapas. Tapas has several meanings when considering our yoga practice and is often interpreted as ‘austerity’, ‘self-discipline’,‘inner fire’ and ‘burning enthusiasm’. When ‘tapas’ is translated from Sanskrit in a literal sense, it means ‘heat’ or ‘burn’. 

In tapas, we use our physical and mental strength to move through the natural resistance our body and mind encounters when faced with challenges. This resistance is said to generate an inner fire, or burning enthusiasm.

Tapas is often seen as a process of self purification, during which one works through blockages and impurities that are present in the body or spirit. Moving through these blockages helps to clear the nadis (our energetic pathways). When the pathways, are clear of blockages and impurities, one can allow prana, (the life energy), to pass through the mind and body, freely allowing us to operate with the clear and truthful mind required to find balance and harmony. 

What are the Nadis?

The Nadis are pathways that run throughout the entire body through which prana, (our life force energy), flows. This subtle network contains 72,000 different types of Nadis that distribute this life force throughout the whole body.

Physically, the Nadis correspond to the nervous system, but their influence extends beyond this. Well functioning Nadis create a happy, harmonious and healthy body, but almost every single one of us has some physical, mental and emotional problems, which mean that some of our Nadis need to be balanced.

There are three Nadis of significance:

✨ Ida Nadi - This Nadi runs through the left side of the body. It embodies feminine qualities and represents the moon energy within us. This Nadi corresponds with the functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system.


✨ Pingala Nadi - This Nadi runs through the right side of the body. It embodies our masculine qualities and represents the sun energy within us. It corresponds with the sympathetic nervous system's energy.


✨ Sushumna Nadi - Considered the most crucial Nadi, Sushumna runs through the centre of the body, along the spine. It corresponds with our consciousness and spiritual awakening.

The nadis (3)

Creating the inner fire of Tapas

‘Self-discipline’ doesn’t strictly refer to an action likened to pushing ourselves harder in a physical sense. The purification process and energy created when we observe tapas is generated when we move through resistance, rather than when we push ourselves further than we should.Observing tapas is all about finding the best version of the self right now and burning through the slow, sloth-like energy that serves as a boundary to reaching our true potential. For example, if one sets a goal to get up at 6am in order to create time to practice pranayama, it might be easier to stay in bed and have a shorter practice or skip it all together, but there is an energy generated when we find the willpower to get up and practice. Sometimes just making the time to get on the mat and practice asana for 10 minutes every day is difficult enough! For some, observing Tapas will mean making time to pause and practice self-study. For others, it might mean moving through a resistance to practise a certain posture.

Practical ways to observe Tapas

  • Aim to practice consistently, rather than focusing on praticing longer and harder.
  • Move in alignment with the best version of yourself.
  • Let go of the ego and focus on your own development.
  • Find your edge by setting attainable goals that challenge you.
  • Cultivate a strong sense of determination and willpower.
  • When you are presented with challenge, use your determination and willpower to move through it.
  • Avoid ‘expecting’ results and use your own journey to measure progress.
The nadis IG and june blog (1)

All fired up: Fire igniting asana

Engaging the core is the perfect place to start in order to ignite the agni within. The core is home to our Manipura Chakra; the chakra responsible for our willpower, self-discipline, confidence and inner fire. 

The element of fire is associated with both Tapas and the Manipura Chakra. Fire is transformational, just like the heat we generate when observing tapas burns through resistance, ignitinging our inner fire gives us the willpower and strength required for progress. 

Ignite your inner fire:

Utthita Vasisthasana - Side plank

Dhanurasana - Bow pose

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana - Revolved side angle

Bhujangasana - Cobra 

Parvritta Trikonasana - Revolved triangle

Ignite your inner agni with: Fire mandalas, power and strength flows or balance challenges. All these practices are available with a Soul Sanctuary membership.

Tapas: Journal prompts and affirmations

Journal Prompts

  • When was the last time I felt challenged? What action did I take? Could I handle it better next time?
  • What does my morning routine look like? Could I create space for a new daily activity?
  • What is something I’d like to do more of? How will it benefit me?
  • At what time of day do my energy levels drop? Do I feel like I could use my energy more efficiently? 
  • In which areas do I feel confident? In which areas do I lack confidence? 

Affirmations 

  • I welcome challenge and the opportunity it gives me to grow.
  • I wake up with clarity, confidence and perspective.
  • I am ready and willing to explore new things.
  • I aim to use my energy wisely.
  • I can do whatever my mind, body and spirit desires.

All Fired Up: Your June Schedule

Our suggested calendar has been carefully curated to give you the option to practice flows from the Soul Sanctuary back catalogue that will help you explore winding down throughout the month.

Flows from the back catalogue are in black and upcoming new flows are in colour

JUNE CAL
June Schedule
Come flow with us
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