Discipline and Devotion

by Mona Keddy

One week into the studio fall cleanse and the word in my head is discipline. As a yogi, I am well rooted in the discipline of asana practice. Now I am making more disciplined choices about food. Developing discipline is not an easy, straightforward path.

Success along the yoga path is linked to the development of discipline. The fruits of the yoga are received through consistent, devoted practice over a long period of time. The results are not necessarily even perceivable at the onset.

Psychology defines this self-discipline as the ability to motivate oneself in spite of a negative emotional state. In the face of difficulty, willpower works like a muscle which is strengthened by carrying out the task anyway. Discipline is what guides and directs the will. The ability to discipline oneself to forge ahead even under unfavourable circumstances is recognized as a key to success. Sounds a lot like what the yogis were saying.

In considering discipline, I am often struck by the sense of force inherent even in the above ways of describing it.

I often feel there needs to be a softer edge. Discipline shares a linguistic root with disciple. From disciple we find a linguistic connection to devotion. Discipline, therefore, arises out of our devotion to a belief, a set of practices or a person, rather than being a harsh enforcement. Traced back, the intention behind the discipline is love. When we remember that, we choose to practice for the love of it.

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