Enlightening Your Senses with Patanjali’s Tapas
We all start yoga practice for selfish reasons. Our minds are in pain, our bodies are in pain, and we are looking for something to relieve our suffering. Conventional happiness doesn’t always cut it. We want a way to truly heal ourselves that isn’t through prescription drugs or any of our other vices.
There is no conventional path to happiness. In fact, there is no “right” way to happiness either, and practicing yoga can break this cycle you’re in of finding – and losing – that sense of happiness and fulfillment. Your yoga practice presents a different path for you—a spiritual path. The spiritual path of yoga leads us into becoming someone and something other than what we have assumed we are for our whole lives. Wait—becoming someone other than you thought you were? Isn’t that a heavy thought? This concept can be very hard to process, but yoga gives you the tools you need to take on this spiritual concept and gives you the strength you need to confront yourself.
Patañjali calls the tool of purification tapas. Tapas is what you feel when your back muscles burn as you try to pull yourself up from the downward dog. Tapas is what you feel when your thighs and calves are burning for days after your practice. And if you can think of this burning as a purification, then you’re one step closer to understanding this spiritual path you’re currently on.
You will come across tapas numerous times during your yoga practice. Accepting and understand Tapas key to finding true peace and happiness. Tapas will help you break the shackles of your ego, which makes it possible to confront yourself on the yoga mat. Tapas gives you the ability to turn your senses inward in order to give you that liberation that only happens when you break down everything you know about yourself.Sounds nice, doesn’t it? If only it were as easy! Unfortunately, nothing about our yoga practice is easy. I’ve been practicing yoga for 20 years and I can tell you honestly that it doesn’t get easier. But anything worth doing is never easy.
Listen to this episode of my podcast to hear an in-depth discussion of the different tapas and how they manifest in our bodies, in our senses, and in our souls. You will learn new ways to enlighten your senses and redirect that power to the inner world, the one that’s inside of you and so important to your spiritual journey through the practice of yoga.