“The promise of crisis is that it will pick us up and deposit us on the other side of something. Will we trust the process or run and hide?” Deborah Adele
Tapas refers to self discipline. Tap means to burn or to cook. Just as heating an object makes it more malleable, so does discipline allow you to change and grow. Heat brings about transformation.
This week pay attention to your daily choices. Are you making choices that are indulgent, or making choices that build your strength and character? Listen to your inner voice and make choices that prepare you for the heat of life.
“Life, like an automobile, is driven from the inside out, not the other way around. Focus on becoming more peaceful in the now.” Richard Carlson
Contentment (Santosha) is a state of balance. When you achieve this nothing can disrupt your calm center. It is a state that we choose…to rise above, just like a lotus flower blossoming in muddy waters. Here we are free from the push and pull of our wants.
Practice being content in a situation in which you would normally feel off balance.
“Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature.” Thomas a Kempis
The five principles I discussed the last several weeks are about our attitude towards others and earth. The next five steps for living your yoga off of your mat are your attitude towards yourself (your personal lifestyle and manner).
The first personal observance is cleanliness or purity (saucha). This refers to your body, breath, mind and relationships. Removing physical clutter can help you think more clearly and promote inner peace. Meditation and mindfulness become tools to remove the emotional and mental clutter.
This week pick something simple, drink more water and less soda or sweet tea, try a breathing exercise, clean a part of your home/car that is typically cluttered. Notice the effect it has on you both mentally and physically.
“Comfort comes first as a guest, then becomes the host, and eventually the master. It is best to keep comfort as a guest.” Author Unknown
The final principle for living a life full of purpose is Aparigraha (non possessiveness). Seek to simplify rather than accumulate. This does not only refer to physical possessions, but the way we possess our identity. Both can limit our joy and happiness. Any label or identity that does not enhance your self respect should be ignored.
Notice when you cling to experiences, emotions, thoughts, habits, labels, and beliefs. Practice letting go.
“Excess overdoes us, overextends us, and takes us away from ourselves, seeing everything as sacred firmly roots us and balances us.”
– Deborah Adele
The fourth step for living a purpose filled life is Brahmacharya (non-excess). Even something that is healthy for us, for example exercise, if done to excess can become detrimental. When practicing yoga both on and off the mat, seek balance, simple indulgences and moderation.