Many of us can learn a lot from yoga, especially when it comes to discipline.
If you’re wondering why I’ve been a bit quiet lately, it’s because things have been hectic! Not only am I changing things around work wise, I also thought it was time to complete some more yoga teacher training. So for the last two weeks in May, I headed up to Byron Bay and took part in a 2-week intensive yoga teacher training course with Byron Yoga Centre. Immersing myself in yoga was exactly what I needed both personally and professionally. With mum looking after Jack for the best part of the 12 days, I was able to have some time just for me (well in between feeds anyway). This was time to relax, reflect and refocus. It was also a time to get some discipline back with my yoga practice. A time to commit to stepping onto my yoga mat irrespective of how hectic my life was or what mood I was in. This principle of discipline is just one of the reasons why I love yoga. I’m not saying it is always easy to jump on the yoga mat and practice, but when I finish I’m always left wondering how I could ever go without a day of yoga. When I think about discipline today, I think it is something so many of us lack in our everyday lives, particularly when it comes to reaching health and wellness goals.
Now before you go associating discipline with punishment, this is not what I mean. Despite our beliefs, discipline is not about punishment. It’s about clarifying your intention and being committed to the process. With clarity of intention, I’m talking about being clear about what you want to achieve in life, health or whatever you are trying to pursue, while with commitment it’s about taking the best course of action. But in today’s hectic lifestyle, our intention and commitment are often challenged and forgotten.
Let’s look at clarifying your intention first. When it comes to yoga practice, clarity of intention focuses on why you are on the yoga mat and what it is you are trying to achieve. It’s about clarifying what you are trying to achieve in your practice before you act. It isn’t any different for other areas of life, particularly when it comes to health and wellbeing. Too often we set ourselves an initial intention to eat healthier, or exercise more or drink less alcohol, but our intention soon gets lost in the runnings of everyday life. However, if you were to clearly identify what your intention was, write it down and clarify it each morning before you act, you would be more likely to follow the intention, even if it feels impossible. When you have a clear purpose, you can then commit to the process and choose the best course of action. I’m not saying that this commitment is easy – you can still show resistance but end up taking the best course of action anyway. When you decide to do this, you will start to develop faith in your ability to achieve. As a result, the discipline to achieve the desired outcome becomes the easier option. You then learn to commit to your intention irrespective of whether it is the easy or the hard choice. Discipline and change then becomes the challenge you choose, instead of choosing the challenge of constantly living in resistance and staying exactly where you are.
How could showing more discipline help you in your life?