Day 8: Stay Curious

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Welcome to Day 8 of the Yoga Anytime Self-Care Challenge! Look at us go! Thank you for being here.
Today’s topic is tapas or self-discipline. Tapas is the art of locating the intensity that maintains the momentum of our practice. In order to have a practice, we must practice.
After you’ve been with your practice for some time, you’ll likely notice that the practice informs itself, even feeds itself. Something you learn today makes something you learned five years ago take on a completely new meaning. And of course it works this way, nothing is ever done until it’s over, and even then, who really knows. Tapas invites us deeper into the practice of wonder through sustained curiosity.

Inquiry as Intensity

Self-discipline, like purity, may evoke certain tendencies toward self-punishment or a temptation to label yourself as lacking either of these qualities. If you feel these things, take heart, you’re normal and culture has imprinted itself upon you. However, I would invite you to drop deeper into your practice (your very counter-cultural, by the way, practice). Can the self-discipline that the sutras describe as a niyama and earlier as a pillar of practice be a question rather than an answer? By that I mean that perhaps self-discipline is the idea that there might still be one thing left to learn, that I might not know every single truth of my physical body in this particular moment, that I might not know everything about my mind, my relationship, my home, my planet. Self-discipline as a point of inquiry, as a point of entry.
Staying awake and aware takes practice. The work builds on itself, but it must be consistent to work.

Practical Matters

How do we stay interested? How do we ensure that we keep coming back to the practice? This, of course, is at once a deeply philosophical and utterly practical line of questioning. Practice is cumulative. The more interested we become in one true thing, the more capacity we have for interest in true things generally. To stay interested, we must first choose to get interested. We must choose to see our practice as more than a means to an end, but as an end with no ending. Slightly more practically, we must remember that as we evolve, so will our practice. The practice you’re doing today may look different than the practice you were doing ten years ago and almost nothing like your practice from twenty years ago. Or even if the practice looks the same on the surface, the inner experience could be vastly different. This is the nature of practice. It changes us. We change together.
In order to keep coming back, to evolve with the practice, we must simply begin. Wherever you are, whatever it looks like, just begin. It will change.
How do you maintain your practice? Let us know by commenting here or on social media. Tag us on Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtag #SelfCareChallenge.
Join us for the 10 Day Self-Care Challenge with Kelly Sunrose.
About the Author

Kelly Sunrose

Kelly Sunrose is the creator of Yoga Anytime's Self Care Challenge. She teaches yoga in Portland, Oregon where she lives with her husband and daughter. Learn more.


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