Tapas is another of the niyama from the Yoga-sutras. The root of the word tapas refers to heat that is used for transformation. The yogi uses tapas to “burn away past karma” which will result in liberation. The origin of the word refers to the motherly warmth and its necessity in the process of biological birth. For example, a hen sits on her eggs, providing warmth; hatching and birth would not result otherwise. Scholars use mother nature’s example in relation to the brewing of knowledge and spiritual rebirth.

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Self-discipline is different for everyone. We all have different things that we avoid. Those things we avoid can sometimes offer us the best clues as to what transformation would be best for us.

Certainly with yoga, it helps to practice every day. That takes a lot of self-discipline. Enjoying life also takes self-discipline because you need to eat healthy foods, get enough rest, be creative, and spend time with the people you love (the list goes on).

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My new goal is to be more vulnerable by being more friendly than I have been in the past. For years I have avoided opening myself up to rejection. But isolation can be unhealthy. I may be shy and introverted, but I can still try to connect with people. My plan is to be gentle with myself. I may not be able to be vulnerable to rejection all the time; I will honour my feelings. I find the easiest way to be friendlier is to start with a smile.

Proofread by Leona B. Hunt, BA, proofreader