Everything in our awareness is in some stage of change, of transformation. There is a process involved of one force acting upon another. In the practice of yoga, tapas is a process that generates (spiritual) heat to train the senses so that we may obtain mastery over the tendency for the senses to run amuck. (See Yoga Sutra 2.43.)
In ancient traditional yoga teachings, a chariot metaphor was used to describe tapas. Our 10 senses are like the horses; the reins are the mind; the driver is the intelligence or the part of mind that can discriminate; the chariot is the physical body; and the passenger is the true Self, the witness. All the roads on which the chariot can travel represent the countless desires we can be pulled to fulfill.
Here is a simple example: You want to have a healthier diet and lose a little weight because you know you will feel better. In the morning, you start out motivated with this intention. Throughout the day, however, powerful senses that are in control give in to eating that donut at the office or that bag of chips at the end of the day. Then you can feel defeated. Tapas is the process of sitting in and tolerating the intense discomfort of not giving in to the strong desire with the opposite force of resistance. Mind says to hand, “I will not allow you to pick the donut up, even though you want to.” At this point, best to get away fast and apply diversion strategies. The stronger mind becomes, the easier it is to keep the senses in check.
To hear a 3-minute guided practice using the chariot metaphor to incorporate tapas in your life, check out Swami J’s website and click on the “listen” tab under the title.
- Two new teachers, Cassandra Cantrell and Emily Pike Stewart. Please join us in welcoming Cassandra and Emily to teaching at 4yoga! These brief bios will help you learn a little about each of them, and we look forward to practicing together.
Cassandra Cantrell (RYT-200) practices the rigorous Jivamukti yoga in the lineage of Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga as well as the more gentle Awareness yoga, which is in the lineage of Svaroopa yoga. Having experienced the healing that yoga and meditation brings to body, mind, and spirit, Cassandra was led to complete an intensive 500-hour teacher training and is currently working toward her certification in Curvy yoga. She knows firsthand the stress-relieving properties of yoga, recognizes that life is practice, and delights in witnessing and participating in the unfolding that yoga brings to individuals.
Emily Pike Stewart (RYT-200) has practiced yoga since 2006 and did her teacher training in 2014 at the Sivananda Meenakshi Ashram in Madurai, India. Emily draws primarily from the Sivananda lineage in her own teaching, incorporating pranayama (yogic breathing), asanas (yogic postures), and deep relaxation in every class. She and her husband Chris are new to Bowling Green and excited to be here!
- Monthly talk and meditation session. Juanita will host this session on Friday, August 19, at 6:45 p.m. As always, there is no charge for this informal gathering, which provides an opportunity to ask questions about and discuss meditation and to experience a short meditation.
- Living Our Yoga Yin class. Angie and Alice continue this series on Friday, August 26, at 5:30 p.m. with a focus on the third niyama, tapas (heat). This class incorporates readings and teachings to enhance students’ experience and to create conditions that may take them deeper into the mind, body, and spirit aspects of this wonderful gift of yoga. The traditional yin asanas remain the same as in our classic yin class.
For a full list of August classes, please see the calendar page or pick up a hard copy from The Pots Place. We also post updates each morning on our Facebook page, should you find it convenient to keep up with us there.
Accessing studio after class has begun: Remember that even if you are running late when the shop downstairs is closed, you can still join us for class. If the front door is locked, come to the back door of The Pots Place (look for the blue building) and ring the buzzer. The teacher will then unlock the door remotely for you to enter through the pottery studio.