How to Cultivate Your Focus with Tapas in Yoga
You might have been to a tapas restaurant, which serves small Spanish dishes that can be shared. While those are yummy, that’s not what this post is about. What I’m talking about is so much more fulfilling and long lasting than one meal. Tapas in yoga is the tool we use to cultivate pure focus and is a true act of self-care.
I encourage all of you to use this tool to focus your yoga practice and your mind. With tapas, you can see a shift in your mindset that leads to real change.
As always friends, I am advocating for long term health and happiness. Shortcuts rob us of so much, while offering little in return. We want the accomplishment and longevity of real change, which is why tapas is so important.
How to Cultivate Your Focus with Tapas in Yoga
What does tapas in yoga mean?
Tapas is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning “to burn”. It is still associated with heat and the idea of burning off all the distractions that keep us from being truly one with the universe. Tapas is choosing to burn off unhealthy habits and negative influences.
The heat from tapas can also be the friction caused by going against the grain, like rubbing two sticks together for a fire. Sometimes, going against the grain causes heat. One traditional interpretation for tapas in yoga is “fiery discipline.”
I love this. Let’s be fiercely devoted to our practice and our health. Let’s be committed to self-care. Let’s be consistent and constant in our striving for unity with the universe.
Tapas is a powerful concept and can be used to deepen our relationship with ourselves and the world around us.
Choosing to live a different type of lifestyle, consciously choosing self care, stepping back from the information and sensory overload of modern life, can all be seen as going against the grain. Mindfulness can seem odd to people who rush from place to place and device to device. But our fiery discipline, tapas, allows us to see a different way.
How can tapas in yoga help me?
In our world of information overload and instant gratification, a daily practice can seem out of place. But it is precisely a daily practice of yoga that we need to remain balanced within ourselves and with the universe. Tapas encourages us to stay focused on that even in the midst of so many other things vying for our time and attention.
Modern life encourages us to take the easy, quick route. Need to fix your diet? Go on a cleanse. Need to lose weight? Overload on exercise in January. It is precisely these quick fixes that lead to disappointment, broken routines, and unhealthy lifestyles.
Real change is the momentum to better your life for the long term, not just a month or two at a time.
Tapas is the commitment to keep moving forward even when our minds are fighting us. It is about being intentionally disciplined in the short term so we are fruitful in the long term.
Instead of a screen showing us new images every few seconds, a yoga practice forces us to sit with ourselves and our own thoughts. It forces us to confront our bodies and our minds. Tapas helps us to focus on this practice and mindfulness in our daily lives.
There will always be a million other things to do in a day. Maybe it’s chores. Maybe it’s the kids. Maybe it’s schoolwork. All of those things are important, but so is your relationship with yourself and with the universe. You can do all things with intention, even chores.
The burning heat of tapas helps us focus our minds on even the most mundane tasks as a chance to deepen our relationship with the universe.
H2: How can I cultivate tapas in myself?
Be present in your daily life. Don’t flip on the television while cooking and eating dinner. Instead, spend time with the people around you or simply with yourself. You will be amazed at the difference you feel! Here are some ways you can cultivate tapas in your daily life:
Regular yoga practice
Cooking with Intention
Take daily, small steps towards your goals
Staying Focused in almost any activity
The process of just focusing on different projects is tapas in and of itself. You don’t have to be doing something special or in a yoga class to be cultivating tapas.
Tapas is a commitment to making conscious choices in thoughts, actions, and words that lead us towards our truest selves. Anytime we dedicate ourselves to developing healthy habits, tapas occurs.
Each healthy habit we take on requires the burning off of unhealthy ones. Whether that’s making the conscious choice to eat healthier, to get outside in nature more, to speak kinder to yourself, or other healthy habits, you are supplanting negative habits.
Friends, let’s start cultivating tapas in our own daily lives and see the difference this fiery discipline can make in our lives.