Tapas is a Sanskrit word that means the disciplined and concentrated practice of yoga. For the urban yogi this translates into: make it to your mat as often as you can and live the eight limbs out in the real world. This gets really tricky when you have a job, a social life, a family and a need to update your Facebook status regularly. So what's a yogi to do?
First set an intention - start with coming to a group class once a week,... No Matter What. Then perhaps it starts to grow and you come twice, and then three times. If you can't make your regular class, try a different one... can't make it downtown to The Yoga Bar, good news, there are about 20 studios in the Cincinnati area so surely there is one along this week's path.
Group classes help you connect to the greater Sangha - the community of yogis. Being part of the Sangha means that you are an integral part of others' practices. By coming each week you are holding yourself and the other practitioners accountable to the energy in the class. In short, your presence is missed when you are not there and soon you will be able to tell when another regular isn't there to energize you in the same way.
Another way to expand your practice is by learning a sequence that you can flow through at home, in your hotel room, wherever there is space for your mat. Start with Sun Salutations, three Sun A's, three Sun B's and Savasana will only take you about 15 minutes. When I was traveling full-time I could often be found in a corner of an airport saluting the sun between flights.
There are a wide variety of podcasts, videos, DVDs, audio guides that can help you practice on your own as well. Even more than the number of excuses you can come up with for not practicing!
Whatever it takes, find your way to your mat! Soon it will be like brushing your teeth, something it just feels wrong to skip! Which reminds me... you can sneak yoga into your daily activities too - brush your teeth in tree pose to build balance and bone density, wash the dishes with a wide leg stance to energize the legs and tone muscle, infuse pranayama into any daily chore or practice mindful breathing the next time you are in a traffic jam, soon these simple changes will have a real and lasting impact on your full practice.
See you on your mats!