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Tapas Activity for Yoga Retreat

After writing the blog on Tapas, I created the following activity for our teacher trainers to complete on their yoga retreat weekend. 

Activity: The Fire of Tapas

Needed supplies: bonfire or other fire, cards to write on, pens/pencils to write with

1.       Write down or your card at least one part of our life you want to turn over to the fire of tapas and self-discipline.  Offer your negative pattern, thought, or reaction to the flame (literally). Watch the fire consume and change the card to ash.

2.       Now, spend time in meditation imaging yourself free of that impurity. How do you feel?

3.       To make that visualization a reality, what steps do you need to take? What discipline do you need to practice? Begin to implement a plan to burn through the negative, harmful patterns in your life.

Gather around the fire and discuss:

·         How do you define discipline?

·         Are you a creature of habit and routine? Select a mild habit that you could change it for one or two days (examples: what you eat for breakfast, route to work, direction you mow the lawn. Etc.). How do you think making that small change would feel?

·         Think of a person who is difficult, but necessary for you to interact with. Even if you do not like the person, see if you can maintain a positive and kind attitude towards him/her. Note how it feels the next time you interact with that person. Can you “cool” your reaction towards that person by choosing to engage positively and with kindness?  (adapted from Bachman p. 192).

After discussion, consider:

In yoga, healthy change is necessary for progress to occur. Set an intention to commit to positive changes in your life. 

The discomfort you feel during growth and transformation is often necessary and beneficial.

Practice discipline with a motivation to burn up bodily impurities and welcome positive change.

Also adapted From Bachman (pg 191-2)