Our Inner Fire: Tapas
It’s almost spring and here on the West coast we are starting to move out of the mud and grey, into the vibrant uprising of spring! As a yoga teacher, the energy of this season for me is always Tapas.
Tapas is a Sanskrit word meaning heat. Like all Sanskrit words there are so many translations, but the one that resonates with me most is the inner fire. It’s the heat that builds when we challenge ourselves in practice, whether that practice is yin or yang. Outside of a yoga class, Tapas is the friction that builds when taking on a new challenge, discipline, or healthy habit in our life. It’s acknowledging the discomfort that comes when we make a change in our life that allows us to transform. Meaningful transformation takes time and honesty - It’s not easy. We slide back, we forget, we get busy, we dig a little deeper and we start again.
Tapas is connected to the element of fire. Fire is a powerful force in our lives. It connects to something primal and ancestral in our bones. Fire has the ability to transform, warm, nourish, and breakdown what we don't need. Fire has helped us survive and of course, when not contained, it can be wild, reckless and destructive.
The Shakti Mat is a potent way to tune into Tapas. It is such a perfect metaphor fire of transformation and the discomfort that can come with healing, growth and stepping out of our comfort zone. Being on the Shakti mat, as we feel the heat building in the body, is a powerful time to look inwards. Like Tapas, the Shakti Mat anchors our attention in the body. We can start to notice what is rising in the body - whether that’s physically, mentally or emotionally. We learn to hold space for ourselves and whatever is alive in us. We learn when to step back and when to breath and stick with it. There are some days when the Shakti mat is pure bliss and I let myself simmer in the warm glow that moves through my body. There are other days when getting on my mat is challenging, uncomfortable, and takes deep focus to stick with it. But all of this teaches me more about myself and where I am in the present moment. It shows me that the wisdom already lives in my body. This is the practice of learning to listen and let those seeds grow.
Allowing space for Tapas is an empowering practice that acknowledges the resilience and potential within us. Asking ourselves, where are we ready to take a brave step forwards? What might be holding us back? Answering these questions with tenderness and making the commitment within ourselves to not let the discomfort keep us stagnant. This season, find what lights you up, stoke your inner fire, and let your heart burn bright.
With love and kindling,