Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Not Discipline, It's Love

Several years ago at a workshop, I remember David Williams saying that he didn't do a daily Ashtanga practice because he was disciplined, but because he just loved the practice. (paraphrasing here as I didn't write it down)
...I also remember wanting to roll my eyes when he said that...

Of course daily practice requires discipline! Getting out of bed is hard!...but I think I do really understand what he meant. I love this practice. I couldn't walk away from it if I tried.

This week was definitely a testament to that. I was grumpy from the first sound of the alarm on Monday and I'm not sure I've fully shaken it off yet. Unseasonably low temperatures made leaving the warmth of the covers for a COLD studio a struggle. (My studio space is unheated, since I live in Florida and most of the year it's not an issue.) I have so much respect for those of you up north who do this...I don't know how you manage it! A combination of the cold weather, ladies holiday and a headache that I couldn't shake for 3 days left me feeling distracted and like a lead weight most of the week. I'm sure all the extra sugar I've eaten lately didn't help matters. ;)

Discipline alone would not have gotten me out of bed this week. Only love of the practice could manage to drag me out to the studio, turn on the space heaters, and nudge me into the first surya namaskara. Once I was there, I was still glad to be there...despite the lead weight body and distracted mind.

David Williams might be on to something...


  1. Yes, I totally remember David Williams saying that. I was at that same workshop at Sanctuary (Gee, it's been years already? Scary, scary...).

    For me, I think the discipline acts as a kind of starter that kicks starts the engine (me) out of bed and onto the mat. But once I start practicing, love (or at least something akin to love) takes over. Hmm... "Love vs discipline in the practice"... sounds like another great blog post topic :-)

    So it's unseasonably cold in Florida. It's about 9 degrees here in Moorhead, MN.

  2. Hi Nobel!

    I like that: "a kind of starter that kick starts the engine". I agree some discipline (and maybe the pattern of routine?) helps start the process each day.

    I'd love to see your future post on "love vs discipline in the practice"! Your posts have been great reading and it's been fun having someone in the cybershala that I know from "real life" :)

    It's good to be reminded that we have it pretty good here weatherwise. ;) I hope you have a warm space for practice!

  3. Dear Christine
    It's nice to hear what someone who has been teaching and practicing more than 30 years has to say- it's full of wisdom. Thanks for sharing DW's insight.

  4. Hi Arturo!

    Thanks, the wisdom of the senior teachers defintely gives me perspective. I can only imagine what it feel like to have been practicing for multiple decades!

  5. Hey Christine,
    I am now in the process of writing that post about love and discipline in the practice that I was telling you about in my earlier comment in this thread. Is it okay if I use you as an example? Don't worry, it's not going to be anything weird or embarrassing. I promise it's all in good fun.

  6. Hi Nobel,

    Sure, I'm happy to be an example!
    I love that the cybershala keeps us all digging into our practices a little bit deeper and generates discussion! :)