Discipline – How it can change your life!
Lately I was reading the Patanjali yoga sutras. The first shloka of the sutra is ” Atha Yoga Anushasnam“. A beautiful translation by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji in his book spoke in detail about the word Anushasnam.
Anushasnam basically means self discipline. Discipline is an integral part of yoga. Even the eight limbs of yoga defined n the Yoga sutras define Niyam, again meaning discipline, to be important for yoga practice.
Yoga in its entirety can be really experienced by being disciplined. Yoga is not a form of exercise as we understand mostly, but it really is a way of life. And this life can only be experienced in totality when you are self disciplined.
Coming to my personal experiences, I have found that discipline is extremely important. Like I can only do yoga in the morning as later in the day life takes over with a small child at home. So I have found that being disciplined in my bedtime and waketime is extremely important for me to be able to practice yoga regularly. Also having meals especially the last one in time is important.
Thereafter if I have to progress in my practice, I must be regular. So even when I am successful at waking up early, it is imperative that I sit down on my mat and start my practice in time. If I get distracted, wasting my precious time early in the morning, I definitely cannot achieve this.
In this wonderful book that I talk about Ravi Shankar ji goes on to say that discipline is needed especially where you lack interest or where you need to put in hard work. If something is easy and enjoyable you would do it anyways you would not need to enforce discipline on yourself, it would just happen. Which again happens when you start enjoying the fruits of your hard work.
Coming back to my experience to explain this, Yoga was fun to start with but doing it day after day would be difficult. I have been a yogi Since age of 14, when I started watching my mom do yoga. But for a long time I kept coming in and out of my practice. and as a result I never experienced what I have experienced now and neither did my body gain the benefits like it did lately. So what did I change? I became disciplined in my practice. I took a vow to practice every single day no matter what. Of course I am self compassionate and I give myself grace. But yes with the self discipline I now practice close to 95% days or more.
Now this was tough in the beginning. Some days I would wake up grumpy. Some days i would just feel lazy. Sometimes I had feel like taking a break from sleeping early. But since I wanted to experience yoga in its entirety I enforced self discipline and took to my mat even on a Sunday.
And I must tell you I experienced a vast difference but most importantly over time my need to enforce self discipline diminished. It has still not come to the point where I do not need it, but yes it is much lesser than before. Now I enjoy my practice and look forward to it each day. My practice has become an integral part of my day and missing it makes me unhappy.
So he says that discipline helps you enjoy the fruits of your hard work and when that happens the need to be disciplined goes away. Because it becomes a way of life.
This is true of anyone wanting to enjoy something in any field.
Say for example I want to be an artist. I want that because I enjoyed painting. But when I have to just keep drawing with pencil for over a month, working at excelling my free hand sketching, it takes away that initial joy. Now comes in the need for self discipline. Because since there is no fun in it, you would need to set a routine and sit down to practice, do it even when you do not enjoy it so much, or when you would want to fast forward to the place where you enjoy the process.
Look at an expert in any field a sportsman, a dancer, a singer, a musician. There goes in years and years of self disciplined practice to reach where they are.
Even for people who had success loosing weight and keeping it off, what helped was being disciplined in their approach and not giving it up.
Basically anyone to succeed in anything would need to be disciplined in their approach. That is the only thing different from one who makes it and one who could not.
So in case you feel that you are not making progress, or you find yourself getting bored and leaving things mid way. Know that it is practice that would make you perfect. And practice would need you to be disciplined.
This is something we must teach our kids too. Because especially in the present generation there is such a need for instant gratification that they may not stick to a thing long enough to gain expertise. Of course passion plays a part, but then sometimes just passion is not enough.
I hope this made sense to you and imbibing it in your life you would see beautiful results. Do share your thoughts, i would love to hear from you 🙂
I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z and this post corresponds to letter D!