No, not the kind you can eat, though we love those too! 🙂 Tapas in this context means “self discipline”. It’s one of the five niyamas, or personal practices that relate to our inner world, our relationship with our selves.
The five yamas are self-regulating behaviors involving our interactions with other people and the world at large – and together, with the niyamas, are yoga’s ethical principles. They’re like a map written to guide you on your life’s journey.
Simply put, the yamas are things not to do, or restraints, while the niyamas are things to do, or observances. Together, they form a moral code of conduct.
At this time of year, the niyamas of self-discipline and saucha (“purity”) seem especially relevant. Many of us arepurifying in some way: nature is producing a bounty of bitter greens, such as dandelion, that detox the body and organs.
Many of us feel energized to engage in some spring cleaning, releasing from our homes and closets what no longer serves. Nature is bursting forth with fresh, pure new life: buds, blossoms, seed sprouts, and animal babies of all kinds.
As the days grow longer and warmer, as we feel more energetic after winter’s rest, we need to maintain discipline and structure to help our seedlings take root into viable plants – whether that’s staying outside after dinner to till the garden; pushing through that clutter-clearing project at home; or maintaining our yoga practice in spite of spring fever!
Do you feel the upwelling energy of spring pulling your attention in many directions? Do you feel motivated to cleanse? How can the principles of self-discipline + purification help transform your goals into reality?