Personal observances. Care of the body, disciplined use of our energy. Tapas is part of the Niyamas, the second limb. It involves caring for our physical body...keeping it fit...feeding it well.
I've always thought of myself as being a good steward of my body. Hmmm...maybe that's stretching it. Better to say I've thought that of myself since after I had my second baby (was that really 16 years ago?). I dropped the baby fat, exercised more, paid attention to my diet. And then a year-and-a-half ago I became vegetarian. And now I'm starting to think more about the kinds of foods that heat and cool my body. I've felt that I have a vata dosha. I need warming and oily comfort in food and skin. Since I figured that out last fall, I found this past winter, when I concentrated on staying physically warm, I felt better than I normally have at that time of year.
I started acupuncture three weeks ago to see if I could alleviate some sciatic and IT band pain on my left side. I've also been battling bursitis in my left shoulder this winter and I thought it might help with those issues. I didn't count on it also becoming a study in my digestive system, which has always been a little fast. Very soft, frequent stools have been part of my life for years and periodic upsets have been the bane of my existence. My acupuncturist zeroed in on this right away and has been working on my colon and energy level along with the pain issues.
Everything really got a lot better after the first treatment and then I had a major setback this week after eating large salads for lunch two days. And so today she counseled me to cut back on raw foods. To use salads as sides, not the main event, and to have some hot or warm food with each meal. Instinctively I can tell this is will be right action.
I'm looking forward to better and better health!