#31DaysOfYoga – Day 39

Once my 31 days were done I decided to just keep going.  Today is the first day that I made a decision to not get on my mat.  It’s been a great run but today I need the break.  I posted this on a Facebook group board and one of my teachers said the following

…my guess is you contemplate compassion, truth and definitely tapas. Thinking you DID practice yoga today.

I looked up Tapas to get a better understanding for what it is.  I found this description on the Yoga Journal website and found the last paragraph describes exactly what my goals for my yoga practice are.  I decided to repost it so that I can find it again when I need it.  Now after all this research and some new thinking about myself and my goals I am tempted to say that I “did” yoga and count day 39 anyway 🙂

Tapas (Austerity)

Tapas is one of the most powerful concepts in the Yoga Sutra. The word “tapas” comes from the Sanskrit verb “tap” which means “to burn.” The traditional interpretation of tapas is “fiery discipline,” the fiercely focused, constant, intense commitment necessary to burn off the impediments that keep us from being in the true state of yoga (union with the universe).

Unfortunately, many people mistakenly equate discipline in yoga practice with difficulty. They see another student striving to perfect the most difficult poses and assume she must be more disciplined and therefore more spiritually advanced.

But difficulty does not in itself make a practice transformational. It’s true that good things are sometimes difficult, but not all difficult things are automatically good. In fact, difficulty can create its own impediments. The ego is drawn to battle with difficulty: Mastering a challenging yoga pose, for example, can bring pride and an egoistic attachment to being an “advanced” yoga student.

A better way to understand tapas is to think of it as consistency in striving toward your goals: getting on the yoga mat every day, sitting on the meditation cushion every day—or forgiving your mate or your child for the 10,000th time. If you think of tapas in this vein, it becomes a more subtle but more constant practice, a practice concerned with the quality of life and relationships rather than focused on whether you can grit your teeth through another few seconds in a difficult asana.


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