In yoga there are a set of guidelines for living in a harmonious, peaceful and truthful way with yourself, others and the environment. They are called the yamas and niyamas. There are ten. Today I am focusing on the Niyama, Tapas, which loosely translates to transformation. It is the burning away of all that is holding you back, limiting you from being and living from your ultimate truth and potential. Most of the time it is our limiting thoughts and beliefs, our “story” we have about ourselves that hold us back. The tapas or spiritual fire is a clearing and renewal, and is a necessary part of our evolution as spiritual beings. There are many ways to purify ourselves and our thoughts and minds. Yoga practice is one way that is very effective and efficient. Looking at nature we can take example from the giant sequoia tree, one of the oldest trees on the planet averaging 3,500 years old. The secret to the longevity of the sequoia is the elemental power of fire. Periodic forest fires clear away everything that threatens the trees survival while ensuring their growth and regeneration. Without the fires’ heat, the sequoia cones couldn’t open and release their seeds. Without the clearing force of fire sequoia seedlings would be overcrowded by competing shade trees and not have enough sunlight to grow. In our own life usually looking back we can see how a perceived failure or our dreams going up in flames brought us to another phase in our life more wonderful than which we could have ever imagined. When you are in the pit of the “fire” remember that the adversity is an opportunity to grow, to transform by letting go of the old habitual thought patterns, and to embrace more fully your innate talents and creativity. A gift resides in every moment. Let it burn!