Tapas – Purification
Think of Tapas as a yearly spring cleaning. It marks the change of seasons. Furthermore it’s the shift from shorter days to more light and activity. Tapas, in yoga practice, refers to spirituality and freedom on a deeper level.
In Sanskrit, Tapas means heat.
Traditionally tapas are austere spiritual disciplines. These disciplines help you reach a higher state of being called moksha or liberation. Tapas include asana, or physical poses. Moreover, the journey invites prayer, meditation, seclusion, chanting, mantra (repeating sacred sounds), food restrictions and fasting. We can practice this discipline individually at any time, or engage specifically per religious affiliation.
We’ve been practicing tapas for months.
Unfortunately, the “Year of COVID” has brought great sacrifice with it. At this time, Lent also reminds us of Jesus’ journey to His ultimate sacrifice. Many believe that Jesus’ missing years (between the ages of 12 and 30) were spent in India, where He preached and studied Buddhism. While acceptance of this theory is growing, this premise remains controversial. Regardless, Jesus prepared for his journey through seclusion, fasting and prayer – or tapas.
Pause, purify and reflect.
Time to pause, purify and reflect runs as a common thread through all cultures and spiritual traditions. Jews recognize their historic suffering, bondage and liberation with Passover while Muslims have a month of fasting, reflection and prayer with Ramadan. Hindus honor Navaratri seasonally, with nine days of dedication to the Divine Feminine. Hindus fast with a restricted diet, and perform mantras and meditation. They honor individual goddesses with distinct powers. Above all, honor those who’ve given so much and celebrate their strength.
The traditions mentioned above take place around the Spring Equinox, and they all have hints of ancient pagan practices that praise seasonal changes. We are part of nature. Our connection with the cosmos and all sentient beings is vital to our wholeness. Our bodies are sustained by a power greater than us. Furthermore, this season and its traditions remind us that tapas has meaning and purpose.
It starts with our mind.
In conclusion, our thoughts turn into words and words become actions. Therefore let’s re-commit to positivity and mindfulness. Finally, yoga cleanses our thoughts and brings a higher purpose to our lives. Spring Tapas are for purification.
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