Tapas, discipline & committment… how did I get it so wrong??

When you are devoted to exercise and your  food intake are you following the path of the niyama, ‘Tapas’? Tapas is described as, self-discipline, commitment and focus, keeping the body in good condition. That is what I was doing wasn’t it?

When I began yoga I thought I was committed to my body and its health. After some months of practice I became aware that I was not. In fact I was preoccupied so much on what the world thought of my daily life I couldn’t even begin to delve into my own truth or focus on any one moment in time. Before you follow Tapas you must drop all desire; to please others; control everything; and be perfect in an ascetic way.

After I was diagnosed with anxiety and an eating disorder (anorexia)  yoga practice felt new to me. I began to look beyond the ‘idea’ of yoga and its physical workout component. I could now acknowledge the difference in myself and how each movement and thought actually felt. The desire to control everything in my word was relaxed, I was no longer practicing to show others that I was looking after myself, i was practising with no external desire. My attention was on the moment, the truth, the feeling.

Through time Tapas, when practiced correctly, develops strength in body, mind and spirit. A person gains purity and wisdom their life becomes balanced. Through this personal story I have learned the true meaning of Tapas, I am beginning to find simplicity in my life, I feel calm and tranquil.

For all people following the path of the niyamas will be different, as they are about creating an intimate and personal attitude towards living soulfully. For me once I began following the ‘correct’ form of tapas I began to feel an overwhelming energy in not only my body but also mind and spirit!