We hope your week is off to a fabulous start! On this #MindfulnessMonday we are sharing the 3rd and 4th Niyamas (Personal Observances) of Tapas and Svadhyaya, which work in tandem. While in Spanish Tapas refers to delicious appetizers or small plates, in Sanskrit it refers to discipline. Often when we think of discipline we think of something strict or restrained, but Tapas implies a sense of passion and fire! When we speak of Tapas on the mat, we are talking about being disciplined enough to take 10 minutes to meditate; choosing to do the poses that we don’t like; and pushing ourselves deeper into certain poses and knowing when to hold back in others. In life we experience Tapas by employing a sort of discipline to ourselves and our relationships with others. By building up the right protection, we make sure that nothing and no one can extinguish our flame.
Tapas works in tandem with Svadhyaya, which translates to self-study or self-inquiry. In order to practice Svadhyaya we are implored to take a good look at ourselves as we stand alone and as we stand within our communities and the world at large. It requires us to take a look at our light and our shadows and to ask ourselves important questions about who we are, what we want, what we do well, where we can improve etc. And, to do this takes discipline, tapas. It requires us to be disciplined enough to take the time to study ourselves. However, self-study is a lifelong process because as we change and evolve the study continues. But, as it is with our practice, it is not about the destination, but the journey.
Samara Zelniker is a yogi, wine drinker, pet lover and travel junkie.