From the Sanskrit root tap or “to burn”, tapas-inspired practices are designed to transform a yogi and cleanse impurities and old habits. In cooking, adding heat changes the nature of food. Translated to your practice, adding heat changes the nature of your body and mind. A tapas informed practice will force you to foster tolerance to discomfort and break open or break down. This vinyasa sequence illuminated by the fire of discipline will build your muscle strength and tend to the flame within.
Begin to kindle the flame and heat up the body with three to five rounds of Surya Namaskar A (Sun Salutation A) and Surya Namaskar B (Sun Salutation B). Slow down and focus on the breath as oxygen is a key component in the fire triangle: heat, fuel, and oxygen.
Plank Pose to Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose) to Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) Push-Ups
From Adho Mukha Svanasana, lower to a forearm plank with a block gently squeezed between the forearms. Lift the thighs, send the tailbone toward the heels, and knit the ribs together.
Ardha Pincha Mayurasana:
Maintain even weight in the hands and a gentle squeeze of the block with the forearms. Inhale and step the feet toward the front of the mat. Keep the hips lifting in an inverted v-shape. Spine long and head gently resting on the block. Exhale when you land in the final position.
Adho Mukha Svanasana:
Inhale and lift the forearms at the same time and pace. Keep sending the hips up, thighs back, and heels down. Weight is evenly distributed in the hands.
Exhale slowly lower the forearms back to the ground at the same time and pace. Gently squeeze the forearms around the block and walk the feet back to a plank position. Repeat steps A-D 5-20 times with focus on quality over quantity of movement. After you finish your last push up, land in Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward dog).
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2) to High Lunge to Virabhadrasana III (Warrior 3) to Standing Crunch
From Adho Mukha Svanasana, move the block slightly in front of your hands. Inhale and transition into Virabhadrasana II, equal weight in both legs with the front knee stacked over the front ankle. Your back foot should be parallel to the back of the mat. Have your hips open to the side and level (also known as ‘squared hips’). Shoulders should be stacked over the hips with hands gently holding a block (optional).
On your exhale, your back heel pivots up and back hip rotates forward. Simultaneously, the chest moves with the hips to face forward and arms extend overhead. Biceps by the ears. Weight still evenly distributed in both legs.
Inhale as you shift weight into the front leg and send the heart forward as the back leg lifts. Balance on the front leg and work towards a straight (not hyperextended) supporting leg. With all that fiery energy, use your arms and legs to extend outwards in opposite directions.
Exhale as you bring your extended knee and hands toward each other. Inhale to lengthen to Virabhadrasana III. Repeat 5-10 times. Subsequently, exhale as you bend your front knee and reach your floating leg back to softly land in High Lunge. The back foot pivots to be parallel to the back of the mat as your hips open for Virabhadrasana II. Release the block and windmill the hands around the front foot and step back to Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward dog). Repeat A-D on the left leg.
Remember to balance this tapas informed practice with cooling and restorative practices. Take care of yourself with 5-30 minutes of savasana and seated meditation.