YAMAS AND NIYAMAS – 02.24.15 (Tapas – The Control Burn)

Farmers use the concept of a “control burn” or “agricultural burn” to clear their fields of material that is no longer needed.  Growth has occurred and the crop has been since taken away.  What is left no longer serves a purpose and it must be removed to make way for new growth.  The removal of the waste material is the foundation for new growth.  Fire provides that transition.  In the presence of the fire, the organic material releases energy from the burn and cycles through the Earth.  In the wake of the destruction, new life grows and the waste has been the foundation!  

http://www.kinston.com/news/local/controlled-burning-prepares-ground-for-season-s-crops-1.160681

In the article, there is a quote that stands out.  “The only thing the farmers have to be really careful of is making sure that the fire doesn’t hop over that fire break and get into nearby surrounding woods,” Adams said. “On rare occasions, that does happen.”  The fire itself is all consuming and some of us are just not ready for the transformation.  Transformation cannot be forced upon us.  Maturity through Tapas happens when we are ready to let go.  I ran and ran from Tapas for a majority of my life because of the fear of what I would lose in the fire.  We all hold something with a tight grip because of fear.  A memory, a possible future, a person, an object … and we are driven by fear to not let go and possibly miss the experience of what may rise from its burning.

When we enter into Tapas, we are entering a field that is on fire.  We may not be aware of what that fire will consume about us, but we rest assured that we will be changed for the positive.  This doesn’t occur magically once in our lives, but becomes a routine.  As farmers practice this annually, what can the practice of Tapas grow in us each present moment?

Tapas – The Control Burn

Somewhere we forget that we had to learn how to walk, like young birds had to learn to fly.  We forget how many times we fell.  We forget that things take practice.  Ray Charles was asked later on in his career if he still practiced and prepared for concerts.  He replied that he played scales everyday, because when the scales were in his fingers, he could play anything.  The question becomes for us, what are we practicing for?  When is the last time we asked ourselves this question?

In yoga, having a daily disciplined practice is referred to as Sadhana and is much like doing a small controlled burn on ourselves.  It is the discipline of putting ourselves in places where the old debris that has collected in us can be removed.  We engaged in this process when we pay attention to the amount and kind of food we put in our body, when we move and exercise our bodies through walks, yoga, and other activities, or when we expand our mental ability.

Lord make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
– St. Francis of Assisi

This is a profound plea to change us from haters to lovers and from disturbers of peace to makers of peace.  This is the prayer of Tapas, and it invites us to be in life in a different way.

Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele

YAMAS AND NIYAMAS – 02.03.15 (Tapas – Self Discipline)

The social and personal ethics of Yoga, the Yamas and Niyamas, allow us observe how we treat ourselves and those we interact with.  If I could have a favorite, then it would be Tapas.  I have gone through my life playing competitive sports and the concept of “burning” is not new to me.  In my adult life, I have continued with the several athletic hobbies that I have listed before.  I am in love with the “burning” sensation that I feel in my muscles from a long bike ride, the third period of a hockey game, and the final set of a tennis match.  Love it!

Where I had to look at Tapas from a different perspective was in regards to my habits.  Stress is a funny thing.  Sometimes we tend to live with it for no apparent reason.  We hold on to thoughts and feelings that are either rooted in the past or present.  When we do that, it affects our physical bodies.  Not cool.  

So I have a choice … continue to damage my physical body staying lost in the past and possible future I may manifest or use the “burning” to remove those choices and habits to become active in the present moment.  Which will we choose this moment?

**  Side note … anyone got any good soup recipes? 🙂  Tapas always makes me hungry for some reason too.

Tapas – Self Discipline

Tapas literally means “heat,” and can be translated as catharsis, austerities, self-discipline, spiritual effort, change tolerance, or transformation.  Tapas has the sense of “cooking” ourselves in the fire of discipline to transform ourselves in the fire of discipline to transform ourselves into something else.  It is our determined effort to become someone of character and strength.  Much like cooking an egg denatures the egg, changing it into a different structure, Tapas eventually changes our nature, turning us into a cauldron that can withstand any of life’s challenges.  Tapas is the day to day choice to burn non-supportive habits of the body and mind, choosing to forsake momentary pleasures for future rewards.

There is a bumper sticker which states, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” We can chuckle all we want, but there is great truth to this statement.  Tapas can take us to the place where all of our resources are used up, where there is nothing left but weakness, where all of our so-called “props” have been taken away.  It is in this barren place, where we have exhausted all that we have and all that we are, that new strength is shaped and character is born if we choose to fearlessly open ourselves to the experience.  It is perhaps the greatest gift life could offer us.

Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele

Power Yoga – 8.2.14 (Tapas – Cooking Class)

  We moved our usual Saturday power Yoga class from 4:30pm to 10:00am.  There was a great group of yogis that attended.  I absolutely love power classes and the depth, intensity and mental focus that they require.  In having some fun on a rainy, overcast Saturday morning, we transformed the studio into a kitchen (sort of, ha!).  With the normal 76-80 degree temperature in the studio plus a good number of bodies, it was as warm as an oven letting us “cook.”  There are lots of fun metaphors when equating the Yoga asanas to the art of cooking.  Students were encouraged to think on their favorite meal as they were preparing it.  Allowing the heat to produce something elegant, filled with nourishment and tasty.  The end product is worth the journey.

  Now that cooking didn’t just extend to the physical body.  The fire may consume the physical body, but it brings a new depth to cleansing the mind.  Take a moment to read our meditation below.  Thanks and have a great day!

Tapas:  Self Discipline

  Tapas literally means “heat,” and can be translated as catharsis, austerities, self-discipline, spiritual effort, change, tolerance, or transformation.  Tapas has the sense of “cooking” ourselves in the fire of discipline to transform ourselves into something else.  It is our determined effort to become someone of character and strength.  Much like cooking an egg denatures the egg, changing it into a different structure, Tapas eventually changes our nature, turning us into a cauldron that can withstand any of life’s challenges.  Tapas is the day to day choice to burn non-supportive habits of the body and mind, choosing to forsake momentary pleasures for present and future rewards.

  There is a bumper sticker which states, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”  We can chuckle all we want, but there is great truth to this statement.  Tapas can take us to the place where all of our resources are used up, where there is nothing left but weakness, where all of our so-called “props” have been taken away.  It is in this barren place, where we have exhausted all that we have and all that we are, that new strength is shaped and character is born if we choose to fearlessly open ourselves to the experience.  It is perhaps the greatest gift life could offer us.

Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele

 

Flow w/Fred – 7.3.14 (YFD – Ishvara-Pranidhana)

In our three week study of “Pouring the Foundation,” we looked at tapas, svadhyaya and ishvara-pranidhana to burn, introspect and surrender to the present things in our lives.  Of these three, which is the more difficult for you?  Why?

Pouring the Foundation – Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara-Pranidhana

Surrender is tricky. Does it mean giving up? Accepting defeat? Being codependent? Letting the universe provide? Surrendering means working with what we’ve got, setting intentions and working toward them, but without attachment to the outcome.
For you, Ishvara-Pranidhana may mean cultivating a state of openness, receptivity, humility and gratitude. It may simply mean the practice of surrendering control over some aspect of your life, and trusting that if you can stay open and receptive, you will receive exactly what you need.
Ishvara-Pranidhana is about accepting that there are certain things in your life that are not within your control. The moment someone takes their first Yoga class, they are being asked to introspect about things that they don’t ordinarily introspect about. The process of introspection allows you to uncover the connections that are already there in your body.

If you cultivate these three principles on the mat – willful practices that burn away the impurities (tapas), self-study (svadhyaya) and surrender (ishvara-pranidhana) – your life will change.

BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintrab

Flow w/Fred – 6.19.14 (YFD – Tapas)

Pouring the Foundation – Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara-Pranidhana

Union in action is daily life lived in a clear and conscious way.  Union in action rests on a sturdy tripod of willful practice (tapas), self-observation (svadhyaya) and surrender (ishvara-pranidhana).

First, we practice.  The very act of stepping onto your mat is an act of tapas – willful practice.  With disciplined practice, we light an inner fire that burns away our impurities.  “Tapas” refers to both the willful practices (also called austerities) and the purifying inner fire that the practices produce.  The foundation is set  as you build that purifying inner fire that begins recovery.

One of the hardest lessons to learn in life is when to let go – of a relationship, a dream, a fantasy, even a depression.  Yet once we learn that we can’t control people, things, and emotions, when we surrender to reality as it is, we are happier.

TAPAS is primarily the process of getting rid of something undesirable in our system – from chronic subliminal muscle contraction, to toxicity in the colon, to deep-rooted emotions and behaviors.  With each session on your mat, you are building the strength to break through old patterns and past conditioning.  With each session, you are strengthening your vital energy, or prana.

BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintrab