Do you ever find it tough to get out of bed when the alarm goes off? Do you find yourself wanting to exercise, but can’t seem to make time for it or stick with a program consistently? Have you started a diet, but fell off the wagon a few weeks or a few days in?
You’re not alone. We have all experienced this in some way at some point in our lives.
In the yogic tradition there’s the Sanskrit word tapas, which means self-discipline and “to cleanse.” According to yoga master TKV Desikachar, tapas is a “means by which we keep ourselves healthy and cleanse ourselves inwardly. “
Cleansing and purifying the body and mind is not something you do once a year or after the holidays when we may have over indulged. It’s something you do daily.
Tapas is like that inner flame that motivates you to get out of bed in the morning with enthusiasm for the new day, move forward towards your goals, live a life full of authenticity and integrity, and share our goodwill with others.
The inner fire burns out when we eat processed food, drink sodas and alcohol, experience lack of movement and poor posture, participate in gossip, and negative thinking.
The inner fire burns bright when you practice self-discipline- stick to an exercise routine, a meditation practice, and keep your words and thoughts pure.
Self-discipline is not to be confused with being rigid or overly strict. Through practice discipline is transformed into devotion.
When starting a fire you need some friction- you need to be uncomfortable and pushed out of your comfort zone in order to ignite, but through the power of daily practice you begin to shine brighter and brighter and with that discipline is transformed into devotion like the process of alchemy, turning lead into gold.
Through physical exercise you begin to breathe deeply and sweat to purify the body. The muscles and tissues become more limber. You penetrate layers of the physical body and begin to penetrate the mind. The mind expands.
You begin to realize that you are not stuck in a linear way of thinking, stuck in “problems,” locked into your current abilities and way of being. You begin to realize that you have access to divine intelligence. You have the ability to BE the change in your own life, take full responsibility for your health, happiness, wellbeing, and the energy you radiate out into the world.