The Yoga of Inner Fire
Beautiful ones, today I want to share with you the concepts of Tapas and Tejas. Through the study of Yoga Philosophy, you can cultivate vibrant living and inner radiance.
In Yogic and Ayurvedic philosophy, there is the concept of humans as the microcosm of the macrocosm. Everything in nature presents within us and everything within us presents within nature. We are the little world in which the universe is reflected. Look around and you may see this to be true.
Agni is the Sanskrit word for fire. It represents the Vedic god of fire and illuminates, transforms, creates warmth and energy. In Ayurveda, Agni is the fire of digestion and metabolism. It is present in the body in the form of Pitta Dosha and has its origins in Tejas.
Tejas is illumination, radiant splendor. It represents intelligence, illumination, energy, and vitality. It is the superfine essence of Pitta (one of the Ayurvedic Doshas) and can be seen as a melting heart that draws others in.
How does one build Tejas?
Through Tapas – tap is the Sanskrit word for “burn”. Tapas, which means austerity is purification through discipline. Tapas is related to Agni, the element of fire, and it can be perceived as burning enthusiasm.
It purifies samskaras, deeply ingrained habits, and ways of being that no longer serve us. For instance, Tapas builds character and strengthens our will. It also helps us hone our intention so that it is stronger than the obstacles we encounter.
With a steadfast dedication to Yoga practice, we can turn Tapas into the more refined Tejas.
As a result of my own evolution through Yoga practice and all the benefits it brings, I am inspired to rededicate my heart to daily Sadhana. I already feel the burning fire of discipline ignited in my soul. It feels good.
Here is a little look at my daily practice:
- 7:00 am: Wake-up and meditate. Get some exposure to sunlight.
- 7:20 am: Perform oral hygiene that includes oil pulling, tongue scraping, and brush teeth.
- 7:30 am: Drink hot water with lemon or lime if you have a fiery nature. This will hopefully stimulate elimination. Sit and plan out my day.
- 7:45 am: Move my body/ care for kids. In the first part of the day, I like to get in the bulk of my exercise. I vary my workouts but usually, they include rebounding, Yoga sun salutations), pranayama (breathwork), dance, and sometimes Agni Sara.
- 9:00 am: Perform abhyanga (warm oil self-massage)/ shower/ eat something warm, light, and noruishing.
- 10:00 am: Begin Work. I try to get the bulk of my work done during Pitta (fiery) time of day 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. You will notice this is the time the sun is highest in the sky – it is also the time when the fire is strongest in our bodies.
- 12:00 pm: Lunch – eat your largest meal of the day in this time of fire and digestive strength. Eat in silence if possible and try to stay off screens.
- 12:30 pm: Take a walk in nature.
- 1:00 pm: Finish up any computer tasks or work that requires a lot of focus.
- 2:00 pm: This begins Vata time of day which is the most creative time. I love to use this period for creative projects, meditation, communication, and things like restorative Yoga.
- 5:00 pm: Dinner prep food and eat. Choose from local – whole foods – close to nature and filled with Prana so nothing with a long shelf life and freshly made if possible.
- 6:00 pm: Commit to completing any work tasks by now and turn work off. Be fully present with my family, and invite play and pleasure. As a person who tends toward overwork, making this commitment to myself is supremely important.
- 6:30 – 7:30 pm: Catch evening sunset – view outdoors if possible. (More on this from the brilliant Dr. Huberman)
- 8:00 pm: Turn off all electronics by this time. Ideally two hours before bed. (Or get blue light glasses)
- 10:00 pm: This is the ideal time for bedtime.
I hope this sample routine helps you! It is a way to cultivate the power of discipline which has innumerable benefits. When we build Tapas – we increase our pure potential and authentic power to show up in the world as who we are meant to be.
Here’s a beautiful video from Rod Stryker on turning Tapa to Tejas.
Join me on Wednesdays for small group Yoga Therapy classes. This month our focus is cultivating Tapas.