Tapas – Written by Sophie Nusselder-
By practising austerities, impurities are destroyed and there comes perfection in the body and sense organs*.
If you are a frequent yoga practitioner, you know practice demands discipline. When you practise every day you learn more about your body, heart, mind, and spirit.
The discipline, focus and passion with which we work on our transformation is called in the Yoga Sutras ‘Tapas’. Tapas is the key element of a yoga practice: it is the transforming heat that burns away impurities. Tapas is like a fire that gives us a clear look and radiant energy.
Yoga without Tapas does not have the power to change old, stagnant physical, mental and energetic patterns. Tapas therefore are connected with body, mind and energie. Tapas of the body can be our asana practice, which creates heat that purifies the body and the energy channels (nadis). Tapas of the mind can be concentration on the breath, or Drishti (the stable, gaze). Tapas of the energy can be pranayama, or using Ujayi breathing during asana practice while prana, purified life energy, flows through us.
*Source: Four chapters of freedom: Swami Satyananada Saraswati