Nirodhaḥ Yoga Blog
Thankfully, there is one month a year when we all turn and face our fears. Because I think if Halloween didn’t exist, we would allow ourselves to ignore the things that scare us. By facing our fears, we are able to assess them, re-evaluate them, and conquer them.
One of the niyamas (or personal, ethical observances within Raja Yoga), is Tapas, which is alternately translated as fire, discipline, or acceptance of the pain required to make changes. Tapas is explained in the Yoga Sutras like an inner fire. Tapas allows us to melt impurities away.
It is so easy to keep doing what we’ve always done, to act the way we’ve always acted. But spiritual transformation comes when we acknowledge that change may require some pain.
Every time we show up on our mat, we are disciplining the body. Every time we wake up early to meditate, we discipline the mind. Pranayama practice disciplines the breath. Even our discipline in acting and reacting to other people in our world is a form of tapas. Each time we make a noble choice, we fire impurities of mind and body, and become stronger.
Swami Satchidananda makes a comparison to gold. As gold is fired more and more, and impurities become less and less, it gets stronger. And so can we.
Any great goal has discipline and persistence at its core. Think of Olympians, medical students, or professional ballet dancers. All incredibly disciplined in their approach to facing fear and overcoming it. It’s the same with our yoga practice.
When I feel fear or anxiety, discipline is my god-send. I can always return to my practice when I feel engulfed by fear. I’m amazed every time how centered I feel amidst the chaos when I return from my practice.
After all, our yoga practice is a microcosm of the way we view and approach the world. Conquering an inspiring pose or really melting into our meditation practice is a way to build our self-esteem off the mat as well.
I hope this very spooky month has inspired you to face the fears in your life and use your inner fire to overcome them.
Just some thoughts about yoga as I go...
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