When we hear the word “discipline” we often associate it with the authority figures or disciplinarians of our society, such as teachers and police officers, and therein a set of rules that we must follow. When our pets act up, we discipline them. When we need to lose weight or reach a personal goal, we discipline ourselves. But when used in our yoga practice, the word “discipline” means something a little bit different.
What is Tapas?
Discipline, or “tapas” as it is known in Sanskrit, is one of the most important Yogic Niyamas, or Spiritual Observations. Tapas is so essential to the Yogic journey because it allows us to take all of our scattered energy and thoughts, and direct them into the present moment. So in this manner, discipline is not about training or punishing ourselves. It is instead about transforming heat and movement into an energy that is really healing.
How Can I Learn Tapas?
At Wilmington Yoga Center, we have created a class that celebrates this aspect of Tapas called Hot Detox and Hold. This healing, harmonizing class focuses on a series of deeply strengthening asanas, including the Warrior series, standing balances such as Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon pose), and arm balances such as Bakasana (Crow pose). The class is practiced in a slow, deliberate manner, where you will work up to holding and breathing through each asana for one full minute. It is also practiced in a room that is heated to 95 degrees, so not only is it highly detoxifying, but it also allows you to stretch fully and deeply and is meant for all levels of experience to enjoy.
One of the greatest benefits of Hot Detox and Hold is that it is deeply clarifying and cleansing both mentally and physically. Because you are sure to sweat while practicing in a heated room, your body is able to rid itself of toxins and impurities. Twisting poses such as Parivata Trikonasana (Inverted Triangle pose) give your inner organs a wonderful, internally cleansing massage. The class is practiced without music, so that you may reach your deepest state of restorative meditation, and focus fully on your breath for the entire duration of the class. Many people often find that in this environment, they are able to achieve challenging asansas that they never knew they were capable of. If you attend this class on a regular basis, you will surely see how each time, you grow stronger, and are able to meditate more fully.