Tapas is not only delicious food, but a concept in yoga. Often explained as friction, tapas explains the work.

You’ve likely experienced tapas in different ways during your practice if you’ve ever started to sweat or feel warmth develop in the body.

Friction can emerge in movement, but also moments of stillness. If I asked you to close your eyes for a moment right now and be in stillness, you would likely be safe. I doubt very much you’re reading this as you’re driving or doing something dangerous. You’re likely in a safe place and my asking you to close your eyes and be still for a couple minutes wouldn’t generate a lot of heat for you.

But what if I asked you to go into plank pose and close your eyes? How quickly would a different experience begin to generate? You might not even be able to hold plank very long before that shake of effort begins to make the body quake. And what would your internal dialogue be? Calm? Charged? Would you be mad? Mad at me for telling you to do something hard?

Its within moments like those that we begin to experience tapas, friction. The process that will either shy you away or move you deeper into the practice. Plank is not the only option for transformation, but transformation doesn’t occur without some friction.

In the fall, my family burns the brush along the pastures and ditches at the farm. To burn off the dying overgrowth prevents the winter weather from weighing it down against the ground and smothering the new growth in the Spring.

The effort of the practice is burning off of the things preventing us from evolving. But instead of burning off prairie grass, we’re removing old stories or burdens of who we are to explore and discover who we are yet to be.

Your partner in tapas,