Wheeling along this sojourn with the sutras: our 3rd NIYAMA is: TAPAS, defined as: 'burning zeal in practice'.
If TAPAS is embraced with LOVE, then, this burning zeal to do our best, to BE our best, encompasses wonder, and gratitude, and respect~ for ourselves, as well as for others on our 'sacred journey' in this lifetime.
So, WHERE DO WE BEGIN in manifesting this 3rd Niyama?....each "beginning" requires us to establish our BHAVANA, our INTENTION....WHAT DO I WANT? WHY?
And then, CLEARLY SEE what is motivating me to 'get up and move into this new day? this new endeavor? this new beginning?'
Rolf Gates says: "Whenever I think of TAPAS burning away my impurities, I imagine it as the yogic equivalent of being in the fat-burning zone of exercise. I envision TAPAS burning off some of the toxins I consumed with my Chinese takeout last night. This is in fact the case. There is an aspect of our yoga practice that is simply about staying healthy. But a far more profound aspect of TAPAS is described in these lines from SIDDHARTHA, by Hermann Hesse.
"Now," he thought, "that all these transitory things have slipped away from me again, I stand once more beneath the sun, as I once stood as a small child. Nothing is mine, I know nothing, I possess nothing, I have learned nothing..." he had to smile again. Yes, his destiny was strange! he was going backwards, and now he stood empty and naked and ignorant in the world. But he did not grieve about it; no, he even felt a great desire to laugh, to laugh at himself, to laugh at this strange, foolish world."
It's interesting for me to imagine Buddha (Prince Siddhartha) saying these words...
Our yoga sadhana/practice opens us, to an energy within each of us, that reveals THOSE PEOPLE/THINGS WHICH NO LONGER SERVE US WELL...layers of gunk and junk start to fall away, and we SEE...."REAL EYES. REALIZE. REAL LIES."
This TAPAS we're speaking of, this BURNING ZEAL to BE/DO our best, assists us in relinquishing old selves, our old friends, our old patterns of behavior....and though there may be times of emptiness, inquiry, uncertainty, there are also moments of surety, of LAUGHTER EVEN, that 'things are right', 'things are as they're meant to be'...on this journey we call LIFE!
Blessings on your sojourn into this new day on your path....I'm looking forward to TRAVELLING WITH YOU AND TAPAS some more in the weeks ahead.
Om Shanti, Om Peace, Om TAPAS!
Yoga Center for Healthy Living, LLC.