Harmony Slater was in my town! I was so excited. She is one of only three certified Ashtanga Yoga Teachers in Canada. And besides that, she is a nice and fun person. It is a pleasure to listen to her. She explains herself really well and she has great sense of humor. I attended her Pranayama & Meditation workshop in the morning.
Before we did the pranayama and meditation exercises, she explained a great deal about Tapas, being the third of the niyamas from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
What I remembered was that you have to create friction. It has to be a little bit difficult, in order to be tapas. In relation to the Ashtanga practice, this means you have to get up early. This is difficult. It is much easier to bring up excuses and stay in bed. It is challenging to drag yourself out of bed each morning to do your practice. It is of course much easier not to practice. But when you remember you are disciplining yourself for a higher purpose, you can lift yourself up. And you know you are feeding your soul when you are doing your practice.
The more regular you practice, the more transformation you will experience.
Another result of tapas is that your brain changes. I learned that the shape of the brain of an American football player (violence, aggression, wanting to win) and a nun (spiritual, thankful) are very different. You can change the shape of your brain by spiritual practice and devotion, by experiencing less violence and much more peace. Compassion is created in your brain.
In relation she mentioned the shala. It is - like a church - a place, made to make you feel good. The room works on you, since it is light, warm, peaceful, calming, loving. It is a device for change.