The Importance of practising discipline in Yoga


Yoga and discipline go hand in hand, and this has been the case since the Indus-Sarasvati civilization started this wonderful yoga practise.

Throughout the evolution of Yoga, and its increased popularity in the western world the practise has lost a lot of its discipline, not to the fault of the practitioners but due to the watered-down teaching methods and teachers that do not take this part of the practise seriously enough.

Discipline by no means is something that should be acted upon as controlling, or “dictating”.  It is something that should be taught with empathy, kindness and firmness. When discipline is kept within a class you can see the vast difference between how the Yoga itself is practised.

Not only does it allow students to learn the yoga properly, it also pushes the students in the right way. Whether it is the Classic 26 & 2 method, vinyasa or any form of yoga, the student learns the practise correctly and with the correct mentality to take them on the life journey of the practise.

On a positive note, there are some fantastic teachers within London, that really teach the importance of discipline and hold that aspect strong throughout their classes.

First Timers

For somebody new to yoga (this goes more so for students that practise in urban cities such as my hometown – London), you get a wide range of different yoga teachers, studios, methods etc. And sometimes a new teacher or class can seem very strict and this can really put off a new practitioner, but I assure you for anybody that is new to yoga reading this – the intention is not to be controlling, it is to teach you (the student) the proper way, which may be harder, but it is the right way.

Discipline in the room = discipline outside the room

Once you start to get into your practise more and start to really enjoy the benefits of yoga; and one does start to naturally become more disciplined with their practise, which has a knock-on effect off the matt.

Having balance is something that can be difficult in this day and age. With the continuous onset of social media, digital media and continuous disappointment from changes and cancellations due to the easy accessibility of getting hold of someone; having the discipline of switching off and protecting your energy is something that I have learnt to do on and off the matt. And that discipline I have learnt on primarily on the matt helped me with these types of realisations.

When I started practising back in 2012, the discipline was much more apparent, and with teachers such as Paul Spencer Dobson who is one of my early yoga teachers that holds the discipline of his teaching practices from the start, right to the end of class.

Paul has been teaching yoga for almost …. years now, and even though some new practitioners may feel slightly scared and sometimes deterred from his methods, he is a teacher that ensures you learn the yoga the correct way and has not allowed times to water down the essence of his teachings, something that I have a lot of respect for and have teachers like this around still allow the essence of mainstream yoga types such as the hot yoga a method that still holds the core value of why it is such a powerful healing form of yoga.

You can learn more about Paul here.

Wax on | wax off

The need for discipline in our daily lives is a requirement, not just from ourselves, but from out bosses, our friends, our relationships and more. The discipline you learn in yoga with your practise can really help you in your life off the matt and find a way to create that discipline in all the different social and personal situations we find ourselves in this new age.

Once we understand the importance of staying still, not playing with our hair or outfit; focusing on our poses, postures and inner self; then we can start to use that practise to help protect our personal lives and help provide discipline and guidance for those that may not be as lucky as you to have found that yoga matt.

Written by Suraj Ghumra.

Form over depth

How many times have you heard that?

This is a common issue amongst all levels of practitioners and not just beginners. And the teacher isn't pointing this out to stunt one's progress in class (unless they are not a real teacher), but they are doing so because:

1. They care that you learn the yoga properly.

2. They care about your body.

3. They care about their teaching methods.

4. They are all in all a caring teacher.

Keeping your form is a very crucial part of your practise, and in order to learn the yoga you are practising properly you must first be able to keep your alignment, and you must also open the opportunity within your mind, for your body to learn the posture properly.

Once you get comfortable with a posture and you have the correct form and alignment then you should be pushing as much as possible to get as much depth as possible and your body will be ready, like a flower petal blooming to open, but until then be patient and be aware of what you are doing.

It is totally understandable that you would like to do a posture to it's optimum and aim to look to best in class, but yoga is not about looking the best, nor is it about incorrect posture. Posture is one of the most important practices in yoga, and without correct posture, the body will only pick up unnecessary bad habits.

If you are struggling with this always reach out to the teacher as they will be able to help and guide you in the right direction.

Thanks for reading.

Written by Suraj Ghumra.