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How does self-discipline help in yoga practice

"Yoga is controlling the modifications of the mind.” - Patanjali yoga sutra

When we think about any form of exercise, the initial thoughts that come to our mind are the time and effort required for this activity, how often we need to practice, how difficult or easy it is, and so on. However, the most important attribute required for any type exercise or activity is self-discipline.

We all know that yoga is now acknowledged as a holistic form of exercise, and people throughout the world practice various forms of yoga. Each form has its own significance and benefits in improving a person's physical and mental well being.

One of the goals of yoga is to attain self-discipline and self-awareness. Whatever form of yoga one practices, the most important and crucial requirement is self-discipline, without which, one cannot see the positive results of yoga.

In the Patanjali Yogasutra, self-discipline is known as 'Tapas'. It is the willingness to do the work and the desire to learn. Self-discipline can be applied to any activity – being more productive at work, improving your interpersonal relationships, following a healthy diet, learning a new hobby, controlling your anger and emotions, etc. In yoga, self-discipline is the commitment to the practice.

Some of these attributes may help you in maintaining self-discipline to practice yoga:

Awareness:Knowing the objective and also the outcome of any activity helps you focus better and achieve the required result. So it is with yoga. Understand your need, the reason why you want to practice yoga, and what positive changes you would want to see in your physical and mental health after the stipulated duration of practice. Awareness and understanding will give you a clear perspective and keep you motivated in practicing yoga regularly.

  • Acquire knowledge about yogasanas and their benefits.

  • Speak to your yoga teacher and share your concerns if any

  • Discuss with like minded people and gain understanding about yoga

Consistency: As it is rightly said, “there are no shortcuts to success”, progress in any form is accomplished through consistent effort. Practicing yoga on a regular basis helps in achieving mental discipline, which will eventually become a part of your routine. You will notice the positive change in your work, habits, and lifestyle. You will begin to appreciate these changes and also be grateful for having rewarded yourself with a good habit for life.

Here are some guidelines that can help in maintaining consistency with yoga practice:

  • Have an early and light dinner at least 2-3 hours before you sleep.

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule and ensure that you get 7-8 hours of sleep.

  • Avoid using electronic gadgets like laptop, mobile phone, etc., or watching TV for a long time in the night, because it can affect your sleep.

  • Practice yoga at a fixed time and place, to avoid irregularity in time and lethargy in choosing a place.

Team work: To avoid discontinuing yoga practice, and make it more interesting, you can practice with a group or with friends, thus making it a teamwork, enjoying the activity, and achieving benefits together.