Yoga Sutras challenge day# 8: Tapas - Austerity/discipline. The best definition I've heard was "intentional self-discipline". Timing couldn't be better with this Niyama because I have been anything but disciplined lately.
I love September. The kids go back to school, the weather gets a bit cooler, we get back to a more structured routine. The challenge this September is that I have 3 children going to 3 different schools all at 3 different times. Why is that a challenge for me? Well, my 5:30am morning sadhana is now being disturbed.
A new routine is required. I need to be disciplined about it. I can't let this new change in schedule be an excuse not to do sadhana. (It so easily can be a excuse) I could always get up at 5am. OMG! 5am in the winter? When it's cold and dark? I'm not sure about that.
There are lots of changes and lots of obstacles that are always being thrown our way. How we deal with the challenges is what's important. Do we give up? No! We figure it out. We change. (Yes, I said it - we change) Here's where I think my role as a mom has helped me be a better yogi. As a mom we learn that the best laid out plans or the best planned schedules are those that leave room for the unexpected. We learn to adapt to challenges and obstacles. We also learn a lot about the importance of discipline.
Moms know that children need structure/discipline. If we want them to get up happy in the morning we need to get them to bed at a reasonable time. Same is true for yogis, if we want to be sure that we get up early for sadhana - we go to bed at a reasonable time.
If we want our children to be strong enough for gym class or have the energy for the big basketball game, we make sure that they eat healthy foods and not junk food. Same is true for yogis, when we eat healthy foods, we have the energy for the yoga practice.
We know that children do best when they have a routine in place. Same is true for yogis. When our practice has a clear routine, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana,then dhyana or meditation,
happens more easily.
Moms also learn to adapt. We know that kids need to go to bed early on school nights but sometimes those extra few minutes of cuddle time is more important. Discipline needs to have a bit of flexibility. Think about your knee joint in Triangle pose. If you lock out your joint you risk injury. A bit of softness in the joint makes the asana more enjoyable. It's the same with everything, I think. I like to practice at 5:30am but maybe I need to move it to 5:00am so that it will be more enjoyable and less disrupted. Maybe some days it will be at 5am and others it will be 5:30am. The discipline is to make sure to practice daily and as close to a regular time as possible.
The discipline for me is not being too soft that I allow my yoga practice fall by the waste side now that an obstacles has been put in my way. So in the spirit of Tapas - intentional self-discipline, I am re-affirming my commitment to daily spiritual practice (sadhana).
Maybe a mantras to my pal, Ganesha, would be helpful. Ganesha is known as the remover of obstacles.
"Om Gam Ganapataye Namah" "Om Gam Ganapataye Namah" "Om Gam Ganapataye Namah"