Tapas: Not Just Delicious Food in Small Portions

In the culinary world, tapas means a selection of small plates in Spanish cuisine.


In the yoga world, it’s something else entirely. It’s one of the niyamas, or personal observances. In Sanskrit, tapas is literally translated as “heat.” Ashtangis often consider it the heat that is generated during daily practice. Tapas also means discipline, something that daily practice definitely requires.

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This is not about love and light.

Taylor Hunt, an authorized Ashtanga teacher in Columbus, Ohio, wrote a Facebook post this week that really clicked.

“Yoga for me has always been hard work. From the very beginning I have struggled to change and stood in my own way. So often in the yoga community I hear the words love and light get tossed around with such ease. I never understood what that meant. Yoga was never pretty for me and it required that I was determined to change and be a better human being. I understand the reference of love and light but do you understand the struggle.”

Yes, Taylor, I do.

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