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Tapas ~ The Practice of Making Positive Change

By Paige Bradley-Pecoul

WED JAN 13, 2021

Jai Ma friends!

How’s your new year going? Did you create a sankalpa? Do you know where to go with it?

Often, making the resolution or the sankalpa is the easy part. Getting started and getting momentum is the not so easy part. This is the point where we have to dig in and hold ourselves accountable to making the positive change happen. This is a practice in yoga known as tapas.

Tapas is the practice of creating positive change.

Tapas is often spoken of in conjunction with the fire of transformation. It has a heat to it. That heat is born of the friction between the old way of doing things and the desire driving the new behavior. If that friction is steady long enough, it sparks, if there are enough sparks, you get a flame, if the flame is nurtured it becomes a roaring fire. At that point, you can start to relax your effort, but not until.

If you made a sankalpa around the new year, you are still in the friction stage of rubbing up against your resistance and doing the new habit anyway. You need a strategy of accountability to keep at the effort until you spark, ignite, and burn steady. If you don’t, and you aren’t skilled in tapas, you run the risk of never realizing the enormous satisfaction of that steady flame burning away the old habits and tendencies.

How can you feed the flame of desire until it burns so steady and so bright it illuminates the path forward and leaves the old ways in the dark?

  • Tell people what you are doing. The more the better.
  • Use a habit tracker so you can see your progress.
  • Make it non negotiable. Anticipate your excuses and refuse to accept them.
  • Avoid people and places that diminish your resolve.
  • Align with people cultivating the same habits or mindset as you.
  • Be willing to allow your identity to evolve alongside your new habit.

You can do whatever you set your mind to. You can have the habits of the person you wish to become.

May you be patient and steady while you build your fire of transformation, and enjoy the rewards.

Shanti, ~P