What is it about the word "Discipline" that sounds SO painful?!? What images come to mind when you think of discipline? Perhaps images more directly tied to "punishment" are what fill your head. The discipline we are channeling in this case takes more of a preventative form, and in this instance, can be a very kind thing to do for yourself.
In March, we entertained the notion of creating aLucky Postureto bring comfort and a sense of opportunity in times of darkness and frustration. This can become a ritual, a trusted routine you turn to when you need a sense of stability and hope. Discipline can very much be the same thing.
When we introduce a child or pet to our daily routines, we create a stable environment for them. When they wake in the morning, they know they can expect certain things to happen. Then, perhaps, there is time for creative play or rest, followed by another expected occurrence. When these kinds of boundaries are kept in loving ways, our dependents know they are cared for, safe, loved and protected.
When you create a personal structure and routine, you establish this same kind of environment for yourself. This is not punishment. It is a caring boundary that you place to ensure your needs are met while still having room to grow and explore.
Discipline in Yoga
Discipline most certainly applies to a yoga practice. How many times have you had to drag yourself to your mat, thinking all the while "I don't want to do this...." In most cases, this voice is a very topical noise, created from a sense of enjoyment from the moment you were just in, or a rushed feeling when we are overwhelmed and think there is no time for this sort of self-care. Let's explore how a little discipline is both kind and wise in these instances.
Leaving a Hammock for the Garden
Imagine you are really enjoying where you are at: perhaps you are in bed and really not looking forward to leaving the warmth and comfort of your blankets for a cool yoga mat in your living room. You could skip yoga and stay in bed a while longer, but will you feel any more rested if you do this? Not likely. So, what motivates you to get up and get going?
Try focusing less on what it takes to get started in your practice, and remember how it feels when you have completed it. You have traded your bed for your yoga mat, but recall how it feels to lay in Savasana, your body completely relaxed and easy. Do you feel that way when you rise from your bed? Which body will better serve you as you move through the rest of your day?
Discipline is getting up and completing that practice. Kindness is in knowing that practice will benefit and improve your entire day. The most loving thing to do in this case is not to stay in bed, but to rise and move through your practice.
Applied to Life: the hammock is cool and easy, the garden requires effort; but flowers do not grow in hammocks. They grow with soil and toil. The real nourishment in life comes with effort.
Leaving the Rapids for the Softly Swirling Pool
The rush of daily life can pull you in like a whirling vortex. You get so busy, the list gets so long... and you just feel like you are finally getting a grip on things when you have to move on to the next thing. What if that next thing is supposed to be your yoga practice? There's no denying that there are some times whensetting aside your practiceis the best and only choice; but many times we make this choice more out of a sense of expectation from others than of dedication to ourselves.
Stay true to you: how many times have you set the rest of your life aside to get in that yoga practice? How did the rest of the day go, once your practice was complete? In those hectic times, creating space for yourself with your yoga practice is an amazingly kind thing to do! You can refocus your energies in this space. You can gain a moment of restoration. When you go back to the tasks at hand, you may find you have come with a new perspective, a fresh energy that makes you more efficient and productive! Suddenly, that time you may have thought of as lost, was actually time well spent.
Applied to Life: The rapids are exciting, exhilarating; but time spent in the softy swirling pool is more likely to afford you the moments to observe the subtle nuances of life. As your breath and heart steadies, your mind can perform with greater brilliance.
We consider yoga a time to better the self, and it is undeniable that a better self will benefit everyone and everything it comes in contact with. Creating boundaries around your yoga practice, as well as life off-the mat, will frame your life in care and kindness. With a solid structure, you will be able to rise through any situation.