During the first part of my yoga teacher training my teacher asked what I liked about yoga. Without thinking or hesitating I answered: “The discipline”. As soon as I had said it I regretted it. I was worried that my answer was too strict within a yoga context.

The thing is, I like discipline. I find it motivating, cool and helpful. Discipline makes me want to do things and helps me progress in what I enjoy learning about. Current personal example is my regular cold morning shower which I started end of December and which is still going strong. If there was no discipline I would have dropped it long ago. I would probably have stopped before I got to experience the benefits.

And that is perhaps where the challenge to discipline lies. It is easy to give up, often very comfortable. Whether you have decided to walk 10,000 steps per day, eat vegetarian or vegan for a certain period of time, meditate every morning, or show up to a weekly fitness or wellness class, it is tempting at times to drop the discipline. One morning I was thinking “No, no cold shower today. There is no time. I am allowed a day off! I don’t feel like it. It is actually kindness to myself to not have a cold shower today”. It was as if I could see the mind twisting in all sorts of ways to lure me away from my new routine – a routine I know is good for me! I realised that if I dropped it one morning it would be so tempting to do the same the following day. And slowly I would have completely lost the discipline of being in cold water.

When starting something that changes up what we have been doing for a very long time it is natural the mind reacts and says stop. The mind doesn’t like all that change. However, I believe discipline is necessary for experiencing progression and benefits. I will admit I feel a bit torn writing this, as I believe in Being instead of doing doing doing all the time, and in allowing instead of forcing. That is probably the reason why I liked it so much when I saw the suggestion of walking between 8,000 and 12,000 steps per day, instead of being rigid with 10,000 steps. It is about finding the balance that works for you. So you can bring kindness to the discipline and do what is right for you.

The better you know yourself, the more you know what is good for you and where in your life discipline is needed. Maybe there is something you would like to start, and your mind tells you over and over again that it is not a good idea? Take a moment to close your eyes and listen within. Perhaps deep inside of you, away from everything the mind is throwing at you, there is a voice saying “Go for it, this will be good for you”.

Ps. Just to share, there are so many things I could be more disciplined with! No judgment needed to any of us. We learn as we go through life.

Posted in

Annette Wiik

My name is Annette. I am a Yoga Academy Certified Teacher (BWY-Accredited School) and started practising Hatha Yoga over 20 years ago. Holding a certificate from Bangor University to teach mindfulness-based courses, I incorporate my knowledge of mindfulness meditation in all my yoga classes. I have two grown-up children.