The 8 limbs of yoga are a systematic approach to release the mind.
The Niyamas are rules that a yogi will follow in order to be rid of obstacles and to be kind to oneself. This blog post focuses on one of the niyamas – tapas.
Tapas is defined as a cause of which a person undergoes to achieve something great. There will be many obstacles in the path towards the goal, however the individual is not bothered about the obstacles. Austerities will push the person down, but the person will come back up like a soft plant pushing and winding its way through the dense soil in order to break through to the surface. Through performing austerities, the person will attain a strong will.
In yoga this is important as the budding yogi will face many hardships on their journey to a higher state. Only when the gross body becomes pure, can the subtle body become pure. In regards to tapas, austerities are defined as fasting, clean eating, pranayama, yoga, self-care, self-awareness. Consistently performing these activities daily leads to a clean body with which new energy and possibilities arise.
Cultivating tapas is important both on and off the mat. On the mat we use this fire to motivate us physically in our practice. To have strong discipline in our meditation and pranayama. Off the mat, we use this discipline to eat clean and nourish our bodies, by determinedly watching our minds and not attaching ourselves to our thoughts.