Every now and then, one must set a fire to see what remains. Heat is transformative. Capable of changing everything in the blink of an eye, fire is ultimately a neutral element detached from any desired outcome or expectation. Fire consumes because to burn is fire’s dharma. A wildfire can leave devastation, chaos, and destruction in its wake, but focused with intent and passion, fire can also purify and refine.
Tapas are practices and disciplines, outlined in The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, to attain radiance of body and clarity of mind. The Sanskrit verb tapah means to heat, to glow, to shine. Heat artfully softens and melts away that which is superfluous and nonessential to reveal the truth. Trust your heart and follow your curiosity to enjoy the heat of transformation without getting burned by the fire.
In search for new edges to grow on, I began my Bikram practice in 2013. At 104℉, 6 rows deep, 10 across, we sweat and we flowed. For over an hour sweat poured out like rain showering a mountain. This is a great option if you’re into extreme endurance challenges. I practiced Bikram for about a year and have since softened my approach to life and practice.
In 2017, I began my Baptiste practice. On my journey into power, in a studio heated to 90℉ at 80% humidity, I’ve learned that the inner heat of tapah is the transformative fire that purifies everything it touches. Heat, inner and outer, softens the muscles and helps you sweat, releasing toxins, metabolic debris and excess fluids. Your skin, the largest elimination organ of the human body, is revived and invigorated as impurities burn away.
Stay hydrated, of course, and always listen to your body. Personally, I love having the choice of attending a heated yoga practice in the midst of winter if I want to. Rejoice for choice.
Om Namaha Shivaya