Discipline...again, the message comes loud and clear.

October 16, 2013

Discipline is a reoccurring theme for me. Not just “a theme” for teaching a yoga class, but a real practice. Discipline in abstaining from negative self-dialoguing, discipline with evaluating the outcomes of my decisions, discipline with my sweet tooth, discipline with getting my work done on time, yada yada yada. It’s all over the place and I get to choose whether or not it’s worth it.

In BKS Iyengar’s The Art of Yoga, the word discipline is thrown around line after line. Good. Note taken…again. The payoff is always huge. He mentions discipline as one of the pillars of Patanjali’s yoga and one who completely surrenders to discipline reaps the payoff of “undisturbed peace, joy and bliss”. In yoga we are asked to be disciplined ethically, physically, mentally, spiritually and only then is freedom available to us. This is the 8 limbs of yoga. Freedom for Patanjali is not a reentry to human experience but rather a release from it. A tantrik yogin would beg to differ.

He makes a lovely comparison between the yogi and the artist. I highly recommend reading this little book. One who makes art must apply themselves in order to draw forth the beauty that was just waiting to be revealed. The yogin applies ones self to the path of discipline to reveal their true nature which is omnipresent.

Ok, so we can apply ourselves and through our austerities attain freedom. Freedom after all doesn’t come cheap. But then what? As a tantric practitioner, or one who believes freedom is available in this lifetime and will delight in that realization when it comes, do the fruits of my discipline lead me to the end of practicing discipline? Discipline is hard so it would be a boost to hear you can eventually stop working so hard, right!

Nope. The act of discipline frees me from the 33 billion plus 1 other thoughts normally swarming around up there. Why stop? Life for me is still happening. In tantra, the practice evolves into maintaining the vision of your true nature back into your mundane reality. The peace, joy and bliss I receive from my efforts can be channeled into the evolution of my being and even made as an offering to the collective consciousness that is the core of all life itself. Turns out discipline rocks and gets more filled with ease because we eventually take it on as second nature. We no longer have to “do” yoga, we are living it.

For me, discipline is grounding and necessary. Usually its the shortcuts and lack of discipline that lead to accepting the terms of self destructing habits. Thanks to yoga (clearing throat- discipline), life is filled with times of real joy and bliss. Even peace, which is that neutralizing force one should be aiming for in every experience they are having. (Peace doesn’t equal happy, btw.)

Thankfully Patanjali put this out there and allow me to paraphrase what I think he meant to say: get it together people. Do your work. Be it honing in on your wasteful habits, your consumption, your ability to self-reflect, this list is endless! Classical Yoga makes discipline a centerpiece to the elaborate landscape of life. Luckily, the art of tantra is taking the outcome from your austerities and making it apart of your life rather than a means to an end. Reap the reward, enjoy it and may it set you free to keep chugging away until Devi takes her next inhale.

Art of yoga by iyengar