How Discipline Actually Gives You Freedom

“Constant practice alone is the secret of success.” Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Strengthening my willpower and discipline has been an important journey for me over the last few years. Freedom has always been one of my highest values, I’ve never very much liked feeling “forced” to do something!

I have learnt though that having some discipline actually gives me more freedom. For example if I manage my money well I have the freedom to do the things I love. If I make sure I get enough sleep I’ll feel more energised to do all I want to do.  If I pray and practice my yoga I am in the best mindset to go through each day rather than fears getting in the way.

My experience is that yoga, meditation, prayer and any spiritual practice all require discipline, without I find it very hard to actually just sit still quietly every day. Life can take over, my mind can take over, busy-ness takes over, other people take over…..and before I know it my spiritual practice can be put to one side.

I have learnt to prioritise it now. I’ve experienced letting it slip when times get busy, when I actually need it then the most. I know this is common as many of my 1-1 yoga students/ life coaching clients that come to me experience the same. We have created a spiritual practice that feels right for them but often they come to me saying “oh I haven’t managed it this week because of X”. This isn’t “wrong” it’s just part of the journey towards making part of your day, and your life. It’s when we notice difference between making time for it and not doing it that we can see the benefit of being disciplined around it.

The times when things get tough are the times that a spiritual practice serves us the most. It’s easy to do it when we are feeling good but it’s when we are feeling overwhelmed, upset, run down and so on that it can carry us through.

Learning to listen to my inner voice, what is really true for me, through connection to myself through yoga has helped me to make healthy decisions and stand up for what is right for me in my life.

Having a faith in something bigger than myself has given me patience, trust and peace of mind.

Connecting with and opening my heart through yoga has helped me to learn to truly accept myself and have compassion for others.

Of course you do need to listen to what you need and if a really physical yoga practice feels too much for you that day then choose something more gentle. It might be that you don’t do your whole practice every day but sometimes you just stop to pray, or sit in silence for 10 mins, do just 2 slow sun salutations and so on. Anything that will help you connect to yourself, your body and calm your mind. Just do something every day. For me sometimes I’ll just lie on the floor and listen to a yoga nidra.

How about giving it a go every day this week? Pick something that feel manageable and realistic for you and do it every day, with out fail. Just see how it feels.

As well as all of the above once your willpower and discipline is strengthened you can then harness that energy to create anything in your life. Giving up old habits that no longer serve you start to become a little bit easier. The phrase “if it’s to be, it’s up to me” comes into reality!

If you’d like some help creating a daily spiritual practice please do get in touch – [email protected]