Tapas of Life

"Life without tapas is like a heart without love" – B.K.S.Iyengar "Light On Yoga".


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What’s with the name?

One of my favorite quote by B.K.S. Iyengar ( a...

I chose to title my website “Tapas of Life”. Why?

You might know “tapas” as various small dishes in the Argentian cuisine, delicious and very popular with “Happy Hour” crowd. One of the best tapas places I recently found was at “Malbec” – Argentinian restaurant in Toluca Lake.

Well, “tapas” I had in mind when I started this website are of a different kind.

According to “Light on Yoga” by B.K.S.Iyengar: “Tapas is derived from the root “tap” meaning to blaze,  burn, shine, suffer pain or consume by heat. It therefore means a burning effort under all circumstances to achieve a definite goal in life. It involves purification, self-discipline and austerity. The whole science of character-building may be regarded as practice of tapas”.

Wikipedia defines “tapas” as “essential energy”, referring to a focused effort leading towards bodily purification and spiritual enlightenment…Tapasya implies a self-discipline or austerity willingly expended both in restraining physical urges and in actively pursuing a higher purpose in life. Through tapas, a yogi or spiritual seeker can “burn off” or prevent accumulation of negative energies, clearing a path toward spiritual evolution.”

But one of the most interesting definitions of “tapas” was given by Yoganand Michael Carroll in “Tapas: The Fire in Your Practice”:” In the Sanskrit dictionary, tapas is defined as heat, as fire, and also as a verb meaning “to hurt” or “to cause pain.” Within the parameters of yoga, tapas was interpreted by Swami Kripalu as a friction produced by going against the grain. Whenever you do something that you wouldn’t normally do, that’s tapas.”

So, to some it all up, “tapas” are the challenges in our daily lives, that we need to overcome to become a better yogi or human being. These challenges often times seem insurmountable and hard to tackle; they go totally “against our grain”, against our regular habits, but in the long run if we embrace them and conquer them, we will move forward, we’ll progress…These “tapas” could be different for different people: for someone a challenge would be not to gossip and badmouth other people, for others – to reverse unhealthy eating habits, for yet another group of people -  staying away from the bottle and cigarettes would be their hardest “tapas”.

Anyway, our life is full of these challenges and as we move from one stage of our development to another, we move from practicing one set of tapas to another one, blazing away our negativity, self-doubt, bitterness, anger and other habits and emotions that keep us from becoming happy and complete selves.

Evolution


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Day #1: Here we come!

Full Moon view from earth In Belgium (Hamois)....

Full Moon view from earth In Belgium (Hamois). Français : Pleine Lune vue de la Terre en Belgique à Hamois. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello, my friends!

Today is a REMARKABLE day and not only because it is the 1st Full Moon of the New Year of a Snake, but also because today I’m FINALLY starting my blog! Yey!

I could say that I’d been working towards this day my entire life and that statement would be close to the truth but not quite true…I’ve been thinking about it, yes, but not doing much in terms of putting my efforts together…But in the last two years my life has undergone some considerable changes, which first brought me back to my long-winding path of yoga and then thanks to yoga I finally mustered some courage to start my blog.

What am I going to write about? I want to try and describe to myself and anyone who would be interested to read it, the journey that began a few months ago, when I decided to leave my previous life as a corporate professional to become a yoga teacher. Crazy? Yes, some of my former colleagues would probably think so. Will I be able to stay on this path? That’s a VERY good question which I’m anxious to find the answer to. That’s why I’m starting this blog.

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