Embracing Discipline as a Rite of Fall
I love the "lazy" days of summer where we leave behind our "busy-ness" to go on vacation, pick berries or do nothing at all. I believe these "lazy" times actually are rich fallow periods that give rise to our dreams and aspirations. Often we have to leave our "busy-ness" behind and embrace "laziness" to hear the call of these dreams. After a long day of being on the lake or the beach, doing nothing one could call "productive", there is sometimes a small feeling of discontent that sneaks in, a divine discontent, a little something that nudges us to look at our lives and see if our lives are truly as we want them. These are fertile times that offer glimpses of our true purpose and deepest desires. These are the times when we say to ourselves, "I really should get back to doing my art, my yoga, my music, my writing (you fill in the blank) or I really do want to start a new project, a new study or even a new career.
So, as September rolls around, I am only too happy to embrace routine, structure and discipline. Yes, discipline. My teacher John Friend says, "Discipline is discipleship to something greater," That "something greater" is our dreams and deepest longings. It takes great discipline to actualize them. Discipline is applying the necessary constraints that allow us to focus our energies and to expand and actualize our dreams.
In Anusara Yoga, the principle of alignment that corresponds to discipline is Muscle Energy. Muscle Energy is the physical energy of contracting, of drawing in from the extremities to the core, so that our bodies become stable and contained. From the stable core, the energy can then expand outwards, allowing the expression of the pose to become bigger and more vibrant. So, it is with discipline in any area of our lives. When we draw in and focus our energies, we create a container from which something greater can then emerge and expand.
As September rolls in, ask yourself, "What are my dreams and deepest longings? What am I committed to beginning or re-visiting this fall?" Listen to the answers of your heart and commit yourself to heeding them. Something beautiful and wonderful is sure to emerge!
Annie Barrett. Educator, certified health coach yoga instructor.