2.3. Niyama: Tapas - Commitment

Continuing our exploration of the 8 limbs of Yoga (8 limbs of Yoga blog post), according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

We have so far covered the 5 Yamas (Yamas blog post) - the restraints, relating to creating balance in our external world.

The 5 Yamas are:

1. Ahimsa - non-harming, non violence - (Ahimsa, the 1st of the Yamas blog post)

2. Satya - truthfulness - (Satya, the 2nd of the Yamas blog post)

3. Asteya - non-stealing - (Asteya, the 3rd of the Yamas blog post)

4. Brahmacharya - moderation, right use of energy - (Brahmacharya, the 4th of the Yamas blog post)

5. Aparigraha - non-attachment, non-hoarding, non-greediness - (Aparigraha, the 5th of the Yamas blog post)

Moving on to the 5 Niyamas - the 5 observations or self training recommended to create balance in our inner world.

The 5 Niyamas are:

1. Saucha - cleanliness - (Saucha, the 1st of the Niyamas blog post)

2. Santosha - contentment - (Santosha, the 2nd of the Niyamas blog post)

3. Tapas - commitment, daily practice, discipline

4. Svadhyaya - self-study

5. Isvara-pranidhana - surrender

Next up from the Niyamas is Tapas - Commitment. The Yoga Sutras Chapter 2.43 relating to Tapas states 'The removal of impurities allows the body to function more efficiently' or in another translation 'The intensity of self-discipline removes impurities bringing special powers to the body and sense organs.'

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The word Tapas originates from the Sanskrit verb ‘tap’ which means ‘to burn’ or the noun 'tap' which means 'heat'. Through our daily commitment to the practice and our personal goals we create the heat which burns the impurities in the body, mind and emotions. When our commitment is steady and unwavering so will be the results, a purified body, disciplined mind and calm emotions.

What does this commitment mean in our daily lives? To get on the mat, even if it is just for 10 minutes. To have a daily practice, let it be postures, breathing, meditation, just having a regular schedule of self commitment. This means reaffirming our commitment even on days when we do not feel like it. On the mat this could mean practising poses that we are afraid to try or the opposite, not pushing ourselves when our body needs a rest or a slower paced practice. Off the mat this invites us to examine what our goals are and make steady steps towards it.

'Practice, practice, practice and all is coming' - Pattabhi Jois famously said

Here is a lovely article on Tapas from Ekhart Yoga; https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/understanding-the-niyamas-tapas#

Positive affirmations for commitment from the Kripalu Center:

'I cultivate discipline. I have a realistic and balanced schedule for my daily practice and personal needs.'

'I am disciplined and also relaxed. I do not drain my energy by over effort and overwork.'

'My purpose is clear, my mind is decisive.'


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