Tapas, deep meditation in Sanskrit. In the context of yoga, tapas refers to the fire that burns within. It is also linked to austerity in mind, body, spirit, and a spiritual effort. On the path to enlightenment, one must conquer aspect of human nature, as well as the pressures from our cultures and society. Tapas is the niyama that guides you on that journey. It implies that we are putting the body, and mind, through intense heat to find purification.
What kindles that fire within you? Tapas is all about the self-realization that occurs with deep meditation, and the ability to make change within yourself. Usually correlating with willpower and self-discipline. Tapas also refers to the ability to conquer all desires, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Purification is highly symbolized here, fire being an element that cleanses and purifies. Through tapas, a person can “burn off” the negativity energies that have been absorbed. This is all done willingly, without resentment. It is meant to purify the soul, mind, and body, and must first be wholly accepted as part of the journey and path that you are on. It may mean giving up food you are fond of, or spending time in devotion and charity. You are willingly doing this to reach spiritual fulfillment. Samadhi can only be reached through the eight limbs, each step bringing you closer to that oneness that we all seek. Embrace your journey and path, and embrace the limbs, so that you may embrace the world.