An early name for a yogi was ‘tapasvin’, a practitioner of tapas or voluntary self-challenge. A tapasvin is someone that lives on the edge and deliberately challenges their body and mind, applying formidable willpower to any practice they vow to undertake. (The Deeper Dimensions of Yoga by Georg Feuerstein)
A yogi seeks out opportunities to transform their habits and limitations so that they can achieve liberation. You cannot be free if you are a slave to your habits. By intentionally bumping up against our limitations and transforming them we find growth, new freedoms and power!
Breaking a habit or busting through a self-imposed limitation is hard work and requires tremendous self-discipline. Simultaneously wanting something (the whole bag of chocolate chip cookies) and not wanting something (the whole bag of chocolate chip cookies) creates all kinds of internal friction. The yogis would say that friction creates heat, heat creates fire and fire is what transforms us! A yogi is someone that just keeps throwing herself into the fire of transformation.
“Genuine tapas makes us shine like the Sun. Then we can be a source of warmth, comfort and strength for others.” -Georg Feuerstein
Here are some ways to play with evolving yourself on and off the mat:
Intention/Affirmation: I choose behaviours that support my health and well-being
Breath: Bhastrika (bellows breath). See video below. Do up to 5 rounds of 10 breaths
On the Mat: Show up on your mat. That alone takes discipline. Consider doing a practice you usually resist doing. For example, If you resist Restorative practices, entertain the possibility that learning how to rest and relax might actually be just the thing you need. We often resist the practices we need most!
Off the Mat: Choose a habit you’d like to transform. Put some boundaries around it (i.e. do less of it for a few days)