Archive for February, 2010

FEBRUARY 2, 2010

The True Meaning Of Tapas

Posted by Dorothy under Philosophyno responses

Tap is ‘ to burn ‘
Tapas is ‘ a burning /fiery discipline’ or ‘ a constant and intense commitment ‘

In today’s world, the meaning of tapas has been blurred by the practice of yoga which focuses on physical exercises. In search of the real meaning of tapas, I have chanced upon an enlightening article by Judith Laster which has been summarised as below.

In yoga practices, being able to get into a difficult pose is not the discipline required in the “tapas sense”. The fact that a person can perfect those poses does not necessarily mean that he/she is spiritually advanced. Please note that:

Some good things are difficult but not all difficult things are good

For example, mastering a challenging pose can bring pride and an egoistic attachment to being an “advanced student”.

Therefore to understand tapas, some of the things which should be kept in mind are the consistency in striving towards a goal, getting on the yoga mat everyday without fail or forgiving the same person for the 100th time. If you can think of tapas in that context, yoga will be a practise concerning the quality of life and relationships, and not about whether or not you can hold another few seconds in your asana.

With this, I would like all of you out there who have misinterpreted the concept of tapas to take on a new meaning to your practice the next time you get on to your yoga mat.

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