Any guesses? You don’t even have to buy a vowel, I’ll even give you the second letter- ‘E’!
OK, the word is Self-Discipline! Maybe you already have lots of that and if so, you can skip this and move on to the next blog, I promise not to be offended. However, if you are a regular human like me who sometimes feels like a motivated super hero, and other times thinks that a sloth is the smart one who’s got life all figured out, then lets talk!
Let’s take a closer look at self-discipline and why it tends to evoke that “ugh” feeling. Discipline is often associated with the idea of someone doing something wrong, and the resulting consequences – correction, punishment, some sort of induced suffering.
What I’m proposing, is that we change self-discipline from a dirty word to a sexy and powerful word! Self discipline is something that we can harness, like a ball of energy, to help propel us in the direction of our potential greatness.
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment
j – John Rohn
Sounds good right? Easier said than done of course.
Here is a method that I have found to be helpful in developing more self discipline:
Ashtanga yoga to be specific. I have dabbled for a few years in different styles of yoga, ie hot yoga, power flow classes and it’s all good – breathing, moving, exerting. I just find that Ashtanga yoga takes it all to another level. From the moment one steps onto their mat, everything is prescribed – from the consistent sequence of asanas (poses), to when to inhale and exhale. There is even a specific gazing point, drishti, to each pose. The idea is to eliminate as much choice as possible, a deprivation of sorts in order to reveal ones aversions and cravings. My tendency to procrastinate and avoid discomfort and potential “failure”, as well as my fear of the unknown, all shows up so clearly in the same places every day in my practice. If you want to know your true self, let yoga be your mirror. If you’re even braver, let Ashtanga yoga be like one of those magnified bathroom mirrors.
Before you start cringing and asking yourself why anyone would want to look that closely, consider the empowerment that comes from facing your sh*t and overcoming it?
Self discipline is like a muscle that has to be trained. Every time I choose to show up for my practice regardless of my current mood, I get a bit stronger. Every time I choose to will my body to take on an uncomfortable or scary shape, I get a bit stronger. Every time I choose to not cheat and try my best, holding a pose when my mind is whispering “let’s get out of here, nobody will know the difference”, I get a bit stronger. In short, everytime I choose to ignore the excuses, and take the higher road in practice, that enables me to do the same in life.
Yoga helps to build internal motivation and self discipline, so that we don’t have to be victims of our ever fluctuating moods, especially when we don’t feel especially inspired some days.
Not to say that we have to do this all by ourselves. Humans are naturally social creatures, seeking the company of others. Hopefully, you’re lucky enough to find a great teacher who has walked the path before you, and a supportive community to remind you that the struggle is real for all of us, but that we can overcome obstacles and challenges when we master our minds.
On that note, I am eternally grateful for my teacher David Robson, and all the like minded humans who I’ve connected with at the Ashtanga Yoga Centre of Toronto.