One of the defining principles of yoga is discipline.
The Sanskrit term for discipline is tapas (not to be confused with spanish snacks). Tapas happens to be one of the Niyamas, or yogic principles meant to help us build stronger relationships with our Selves, from the Yoga Sutras.
Many postural practices that rely on a set sequence of poses are designed specifically to instill discipline in the practitioner. It’s easer to perform the postures when you can memorize a set sequence and don’t have to think about what you’re doing every day. Taking out the guessing game makes the discipline easier to uphold.
Why organization is important for discipline
Discipline is about showing up, even when you don’t want to. It’s about constructing scaffolding so that you can build from a supported position. Without sound scaffolding, creativity is less likely to happen consistently.
Consistency is important for creating lasting success — longevity.
Consistency also allows for ease because you’re not constantly putting out fires. Consistency breeds proactivity.
Being proactive rather then reactive means you remain in control.
And yoga is all about regaining control.
When viewed in this way the scaffolding, the tapas, becomes supremely important to create the possibility for all the other positive qualities that follow.
Process = organization
Creative people often debate about the necessity of routine. Many prolific creatives stick to very strict schedules as a way to ensure flow. It seems counterintuitive and sometimes stifling, but artists understand that sometimes their work will be great and other days it will suck — it’s all part of the process and the process is necessary for creating good work over time. The key to mastery is more about showing up and doing the work rather then relying of flashes of genius. The genius comes when you sit butt in seat and do the work over and over and over again. In yoga land that means progress happens when you show up on the mat or cushion over and over and over again.
Not everyone can relate to creativity, though. For those who don’t consider themselves to be creative, or for those who don’t relate to the words discipline or routine (or tapas), I like the word organization. This word better appeals to those of us who prefer the left hemisphere of the brain.
Organizing your activities, inspiration, and motivation into a ritual that signifies its time to get to work is how you create discipline.
When viewed this way, it’s impossible to use the excuse “I’m not disciplined,” or “I’m not creative,” or even “I’m not organized.” While these adjectives may not fit into your way of being naturally in the world, everyone can learn how to create an intentional ritual that sets themselves up for success in life.
And that’s how I want to teach you about tapas.
How do you organize your morning to set yourself up for success each day?
How do you organize your yoga practice to ensure you’re getting what you need when you need it?
How do you organize your work so that you’re fulfilled and rewarded fairly?
Maybe you’ve never thought about your morning routines or you’ve always relied on a teacher to teach you a yoga class or a boss to dictate how and when you work.
But with a little time spent up front thinking about what, when, and how you actually want to create, practice, and work you can drastically change your approach to life!
Organize your life through yoga
With a little discipline, a little organization, you can start proactively shaping your life rather then allowing life to happen to you.
This is the promise of yoga. As you learn to pay more attention to the details you gain more freedom. As you learn to let go of control you gain more power. And as you consciously construct healthy boundaries, you infinitely expand.
This is how you organize your life through yoga.
Organizing your yoga practice so that it works for you means you’re creating your own personal, powerful sadhana. Sadhana is a Sanskrit word that means practice, but there’s more power to this particular word. Your sadhana is sacred. It’s the activities that you commit to show up for every day so that you can be your best self.
Here’s a little practice for you to help you organize your life or create your own personal sadhana:
- Choose an area of your life you would like to have more discipline (work, yoga practice, relationships, creativity, etc.)
- Spend a few moments meditating, practicing yoga postures, breathing, or singing — get your body and mind moving away from that particular part of your life you’re looking to organize. This will help you shift into a new brain space and you’ll feel more clear on how to move forward after spending time doing something else. This is an important part of the process that seems unrelated but trust me, it’s very much related.
- After your “yoga break,” spend some time reacquainting yourself with your Core Values. If you haven’t spent time creating your core values, read this blog post.
- Now, come back to the are of your life you’re looking to organize and begin brainstorming what types of activities, boundaries, rituals, or rules you can put in place to build discipline. Make sure it’s fun, aligns with your core values, and keep it simple! Lighting a candle and repeating a mantra may be all you need to get you in the right headspace to create. Constructing an altar or cleaning out a corner in your house dedicated to yoga may be the push you need to commit to a daily practice. Taking a few deep breaths while listening to your favorite song may be the motivation you need to work more efficiently. There is no right or wrong answer, only the ritual and scaffolding that will best serve you and help you show up more often!
- Share your ritual, your organization, your scaffolding in The Yoga Life Facebook group to support others on the path with you!
Start living life inspired today!
Have you mastered the 7 elements to inspired living?
Do you have a plan in place to integrate them into your life?
The Inspired Life Checklist draws from core concepts in the Yoga Sutras and helps you identify where to focus your energy so that you can start living your most inspired life right now!