Igniting My Life With Tapas

By Baptiste Yoga on April 26, 2014

Reflections from Baptiste Yoga™ Level Two Training, Sundance UT
by Trish Corley, PT, DPT, RYT 200

paige and trish L2

“Tapas Ladies” with Paige Elenson

One of the pillars of Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga is tapas (Sanskrit for “heat”). Prior to my level two training, I always enjoyed practicing in a heated room and experiencing the joy inside my physical body as I created more internal heat with breath and movement. The more heat I created, the more I seemed to enjoy the deep rest of Savasana and brag about the effects of my yoga practice. Tapas seemed to be part of the magic of the journey into power sequence. During my week in Sundance, UT, led by Paige Elenson, I came to better understand the magic of tapas.

I spend a lot of my time worrying about my future and thinking about how my past decisions will affect my future. I worry about being a good enough wife, sister, aunt, daughter, friend, boss, and yoga teacher. I am concerned about looking good in front of my students, co-workers, and family. I fear being alone in life. Sometimes I even sit down to meditate with the intention of getting these thoughts out of my head, only to end up even more concerned, stressed, annoyed, and fearful.

When I get on my mat for my asana practice, I do get out of my head. I get into my physical body and live in the present moment. In those present moments my fears and concerns seem to literally melt away. I move and breathe and let the heat burn away the past and the concern of the future. I do not try to do this. Rather it happens when I just let it happen. That’s where the magic is! I get to just be myself. In level two I realized that my True North, the person I really am (not the one I worry about being) is truly a loved and loving person. While in frog pose (for a very long time) in front of the fire in the yoga room at Sundance, Paige asked me to think about my life when I was a young child. As I gazed at the burning flames, I saw a cute blond toddler that everyone loved to be around. I did not try to please people at a young age. I did not ask to be loved when I was small. I just was love. And in being love, I gave love. In being love, I received love. My natural way of being was of love. And my natural way of being now is of love. Yet, I let the worries and concerns of looking good and being enough stand in my way sometimes. I try to hide parts of myself that I think others will not approve of, and end up hiding my real self. I now realize that the tapas in my asana practice helps to burn away that which stands in my way of being my greatest self. Also, just as the fire in the room in Sundance provided heat and light, the tapas in my practice also lights things up brightly. Like I did when I was a toddler, I light up a room when I let myself really shine; when I let myself be seen; when I let myself get messy; when I let myself dance; when I let myself be love.

At the end of the week, Paige gave me a bracelet and infused it with a huge matchbox to bring heat to things; to light things up; and to burn away whatever is in the way. From level two I gained an understanding of the power of tapas in my asana practice. Even more importantly, I realized that who I am and what I do on my mat, does not need to be reserved for my mat. I want a stronger relationship with my husband. This means burning away my concern for our future and lighting things up when we are together. I want to reconnect with old friends. This means letting go of my concern that we haven’t spoken in a while and igniting our friendship. I want to empower my students to their greatest potential. This means bringing tapas to my classes so that students can burn away what stands in the way of their greatest selves. Throughout the training, Paige reminded me that I do not even know what is possible in my life. I am open to burning away my concerns and lighting things up, moment by moment, by moment.

Trish Corely

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This post was cross-posted with permission from Trish’s blog, Biota Wellness

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