Ahimsa – the practice of non-violence. I am often surprised when I see people attached to the belief : ”No pain – no gain”. This belief requires you to over-rule common sense, telling your body to continue doing something which is causing it pain. It requires you to ignore the messages from the body, rather than integrate them into your practice.
Discipline is not making yourself do something, no matter what the outcome. Discipline is doing something, and paying attention to how you do it, and working with your thoughts and feelings. It means adjusting and modifying your yoga practice to suit you, so that the outcome is beneficial, and so is the means.
It is useful to know your basic nature. If you are “rajasic”, that is you are very active, easily angered, tend to do too much and push yourself, then you may need a daily practice which is calming, relaxing, soothing and softening. If you are “tamasic”, that is you are often low in energy, tend toward sleepiness and inactivity, then you may need a yoga practice which is stimulating, energizing, dynamic, and active.
Your yoga practice is an exploration of your potential. But it is more of an opportunity to check in with yourself. We are so outwardly focused that for some the only time they check in with themselves is their yoga practice. Cherish this time! You need to understand your body, and work creatively with your strengths and weaknesses. Wisdom means adjusting your practice.
We are all working with aging and change in our bodies and we need to do this with kindness and compassion. We need to keep moving toward our potential whilst adjusting to suit where we are now – this is right effort.