The fire of the mountain

Maybe next year we will get up to Mt. Shasta for Tim Miller’s annual (now in its 22nd year) retreat/vacation to California’s crown chakra. Until then, we’ll just have to check the photos on Facebook and read up as Tim recounts the first few days of his time in his blog this week. The subject today: Tapah or fire:

I learned long ago that a sweat lodge is not a competition, but simply a willingness to endure a certain amount of discomfort for the purpose of purification.  In yoga this is called Tapah—literally, “to heat, burn, or cook.” Patanjali says in sutra II. 43: “Kaya indriya siddhih asuddhi ksayat tapasah”—the sacred fire removes impurities and brings mastery to the body and the sense organs.  Tapah is something that quite literally brings us to our senses.  After the sweat today I felt great, like a thin veneer of so-called civilization had been removed and I was experiencing everything at a deeper level.

As I know I’ve already written, Bobbie and I are debating whether to go to Shasta next summer or to Tulum in the winter. I’m definitely torn between the pacific beauty of Tulum — manifest mainly by the opportunity to go from practice to beach/warm water. But having gone up in the Himalayas now, I recognize just how much Shasta brings a little bit of that sacred, spiritual space to the West Coast. (Shasta’s peak and the glacier that is the start of the Ganges are almost the exact same altitude.) Part of me wants to get back into the environment.

The other wants all that fresh Mexican food, though.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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