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candlesAt a glance, the word “discipline” makes many of us think of the punishments we may have gotten as a kid. But there is so much more to this concept.

First off, let’s figure out just what discipline is and why we should cultivate it?

In the book Living Your Yoga, Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life, Judith Lasater defines discipline as doing what is truly possible with unwavering commitment to giving yourself to the moment.

“Truly Possible” are the key words in this definition. How many times do we set a goal that is WAAAY too big and still expect that we can accomplish it?

I am guilty of this.  There have been times in my life that I have said “Self, lets meditate for thirty minutes everyday at nap time”.  It sounded like a good idea.  But realistically, I RARELY get that much time alone EVER!

In my life 10 or 15 minutes of meditation is all I can spare with three small kids and an active life.

So that’s the first part of discipline. COMMIT TO ONLY WHAT YOU ARE CAPABLE TO DOING.

But, why is it so important to cultivate discipline?

The short answer is that discipline gives us the FREEDOM to be our true Selves and the structure to accomplish anything we want.

Here’s is how I explain this concept to my kids.

Either YOU can have the FREEDOM to control yourself, OR SOMEONE ELSE will control you.

For children we as parents sometimes have to step in to “control” our children’s behaviors.  As adults sometimes it’s the police or the prison system that is forced to control our behavior when we cannot.

Nonetheless, when someone else controls our behaviors, we are stripped of our freedoms, and isn’t freedom what we are seeking in our lives anyway?

So this week, let’s pick just one area in our lives that we can cultivate discipline.

For me, that area is my spiritual practice. In yoga we call this “tapas”.

Tapas is a Sanskrit word that means heat or burning. But when translated loosely means discipline. The idea is that we commit ourselves  to doing the things that will make us better in some way NO MATTER the discomfort it causes.

Discomfort is NOT the same thing as pain. We are not here for deprivation, but living that joyful mom life does require consistent action of some kind!

So yes there will be days when you just don’t feel like it. Yes there will be times when other obligations come up and you are tempted to put off your commitment to yourself. But through tapas, we understand that transformation only comes after we have put in sufficient work consistently.

What about you?  Are there areas in your life that you would like to become more disciplined?