Tapas is the Niyama of self discipline, and when observed in our lives it can be a great guide. Do we constantly run from our struggles, or do we constantly push headstrong into them no matter the cost? Finding our own internal balance can be a challenge. Being part of a community can be an incredible source of inspiration and provide great support, but, it is not always easy, and it can either help or hinder us in our search for balance, depending on where, when and how we are looking for it. Similar to being a part of a family, we all have our quirks and we interact in different ways. We may sometimes feel tension between ourselves and someone else, or we may feel misunderstood despite our best intentions. If we are able to feel the tension and not run away, we grow. We grow together and as individuals. Sometimes though, it makes more sense to move away from the tension.
It’s interesting to notice the physical sensations in our body when we come up to our edge. You can possibly feel your temperature rising, palms getting warm, and your heart beating fast. Here comes the practice of Tapas: what do we do with that heat? What does your heart of hearts tell you to do? Back down, or rise up? There is no wrong answer, and sometimes just the awareness of our decision is enough to start to bring up the notion of our perfectly imperfect version of self discipline. This can be useful in relationships and in our relationship with our self. Do I need that ______(fill in the blank) or is it just a distraction from what I truly want? Can I rise above my desires to a place of self discipline? Or is this a situation where it will behoove me to relax and ease up on myself or someone else? Only you know the answer, and it may be a different answer depending on a myriad of things.
During the hot months of summer feel free to use some of these Ayurvedic wellness techniques to soothe and cool you down, most especially if you are practicing self discipline and you’re feeling the fire within!
- Put some fresh lime in your water, and make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Wear loose fitting, breathable fabrics
- Spray yourself with rose water for a lovely smelling and refreshing treat
- Try the cooling Sitali Pranayama: stick your tongue out and curl your tongue if you can, if not keep the tongue flat. Take 10 slow, deep breaths with the tongue out as if you are breathing through a straw. Then take a nice long savasana.
“Swami Satchidananda said that tapas is self-discipline, not self-torture.”– YogaShanti.com Tapas- Riding the Heat.
Take time to deeply listen to yourself. Ask yourself what you need to work on and what you need to walk away from. Figure out what you can do to support yourself and then trust in your decisions. Trust your inner flame and let it guide you towards a life of intention, purpose, and peace, burning up all that does not serve and leaving the remains to be birthed into something new.