Tapas

Or you could also say: fall down, stand up, straighten the crown, move on. There are people who only dream of castles in the air and there are people who bring them from heaven to the bottom of life.

If dreams are to become reality, then we have to “burn” irrepressibly for them. Tapas is the inner fire that enables yogis to realize all facets.

What is tapas in yoga?

Tapas is passion, the urge to live, stamina, and self-discipline. In yoga philosophy, tapas is a state of mind that enables us to master difficult moments in life and to get up again after setbacks. A healthy portion of it not only gives us character, it also gives us charisma, leads to success, and thus distinguishes ordinary from unusual people. Yogis especially need tapas when the work on yourself becomes tedious or the yoga mat in the corner is gathering dust.

When our tapas is wasted, life lacks fireworks. Our passions then simmer lukewarm. The path of least resistance lines our existence. Unfortunately, the really good parties never take place there. New Year’s Eve Stallone already suspected that when he had tried in vain for years to get the “Rocky” script, with himself in the lead role, to the man. 

Instead of being discouraged by the feedback about the flat plot and its unsuitable appearance, he kept fighting. When asked why, he answers today that otherwise, he would have been dead inside. 

The three types of tapas

The Bhagavad Gita knows three different types of tapas that should be applied to ourselves and to our fellow human beings:

  1. Body discipline
  2. Discipline of language
  3. Discipline of mind

Body discipline

Means physical non-violence and purity of the body. In yoga practice, asanas can be just as beneficial and cleansing as they are uncomfortable and hurtful. The body gives us constant feedback about what is good for it and what is not. So the art of tapas on the physical level is to practice self-discipline without slipping into self-mortification on the one hand or indolence on the other.

After all, who of us has not been injured (at least slightly) while doing yoga? This usually happens when we either ask too much of our body or we lack the necessary body tension. In one case, tapas is too strong and burns off the positive effects of yoga and in the other, too weak.

Healthy tapas, on the other hand, enables us to generate the necessary inner heat to overcome mental barriers and explore unknown physical areas.

Discipline of language

It includes friendly and honest dealings with ourselves and others.

“Speak the truth in such a way that it is pleasing to others. Do not speak the truth in a manner injurious to others. Never speak untruth, though it may be pleasant. This is the eternal path of morality and dharma. ” (Manu Smṛit)

“Speak the truth in a way that is comfortable for others. Do not speak the truth in ways that hurt others. Never tell untruth, even if it may seem pleasant. This is the timeless path of morality and dharma ”(Manu Smṛit)

The fire of tapas burns us in this facet especially when communicating with ourselves. We would not talk to family, customers or friends in the way we often do with ourselves. Most of us have overly self-critical beliefs that limit us. In yoga they are called “malas” (impurities). Often we come across the following malas: “I’m not perfect”, “I’m not beautiful”, “Nobody cares about me”, “Nobody loves me”, “I can’t do that”, “I will never make it” .

Malas don’t make us good enough for our own claims. Therefore, in the context of tapas of language, we should first work on a positive language with ourselves. We observe the language within ourselves, and remove the poison in it that is taking away confidence. The motto of tapas in this context is: If you want peace, you have to be friendly – also and especially to yourself!

Discipline of mind

It gives us serenity, mildness and calm. Yogis experience spiritual cleansing mainly by getting rid of useless mental habits. Permanent expectations, identification with role models, indolence, and pessimism are examples of this.

The word weaning already implies that this is often a process. What has established itself in our minds over the years usually needs time in order not to arouse any new resistance when we get used to it. Even when we are aware of negative mental patterns, they have an anchor in us that we can only resolve with great effort. The work on our tapas should take this aspect into account.

“Change means resistance, friction. Friction creates heat. And tapas literally means: heat. Heat transforms. (…) Heat can also be painful, and sometimes the physical and mental efforts on the yoga path are difficult. “(Ralph Skuban)

When tapas of the spirit one should therefore be prepared for internal conflicts and face them.

Light your fire

In summary, tapas is the daily practice of gentle but constant striving for purity and strength on the levels of body, language and mind. Our passion, which allows us to overcome hurdles, gives us the liberating feeling of being able to grow beyond ourselves. It is worth keeping this flame burning, because with perseverance and perseverance, we can realize what we want and see the person in us who we really are. Tapas not only gives us character and backbone but also ensures that we feel alive and can enjoy life to the fullest.  

Article Reference: Yogamehome

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: