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“I believe that Self-Discipline is the definition of Self-Love.” -Will Smith

At first glance you might think love and discipline are opposing forces, but think about all the reasons you might discipline your child. Discipline helps a child learn, keeps them safe, brings structure and stability, teaches impulse control, promotes self-regulation and helps them develop problem solving skills. We discipline our children because we love them, nurture them and help equip them to navigate the world happily and confidently as they grow up.

I used to look at discipline as punishment, and when I was told I needed to be more disciplined I took it as I have to take on all this work I didn’t feel like doing and what’s the reward in that?

The undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions. -Stephen Covey

I was very transfixed on momentary happiness, as I feel many people are. I let whatever was happening externally take me for a ride. If I was tired, I’d drink more caffeine, if I was stressed I would eat, if I was depressed I would buy something pretty. Being a slave to my emotions, I would chase fleeting happiness only to have it followed up by inevitable unhappiness. It was a cycle and a trap and I didn’t even realize it was happening.

Through discipline comes freedom - Aristotle

Then I fell into my yoga and mindfulness practice. It changed everything, it broke the cycle. I strengthened my will power by showing up for myself, which I feel is essential for self-love. By proving to myself that I could be there for me, I was able to trust myself more. I started overcoming the temptation from immediate pleasures in exchange for what I truly wanted. I became more self-sufficient in my emotional needs which translated to healthier and more fulfilling relationships. I started making healthier choices in all aspects of my life because I developed an inner strength that didn’t come from self-punishment, but came from truly caring about and loving myself. I believed I was worth it, and invested in myself.

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine - Unknown

A lot of us are disciplined when it comes to showing up for others. I remember early morning hockey practices, dropping everything at a moment’s notice for my job as a firefighter or teaching my 6am yoga classes knowing my students were waiting. So why then do we hit the snooze button when it comes to ourselves?

I feel it has to do with “getting” something out of it. Whether its money, or praise, or avoiding guilt or disappointing others (approval) there is some reward attached to our behaviours. When we don’t show up for ourselves, the only person we are disappointing is us, and somehow we are more accepting of that.

We aren’t born with self-discipline—it’s a learned behaviour. Just like any other skill you want to master, it requires daily practice and repetition. It takes time and we must be patient with ourselves.

When I began my meditation journey it started as effort, I would practice diligently for a few weeks, then fall off the wagon, but I persevered and kept coming back to my mat. It took me years of working on my body so I could finally sit for meditation. It was the worst at the beginning, my legs would fall asleep and go numb, my mind would tell me I had better things to do than just sit here and thoughts would be flooding in incessantly. Sometimes I think I left my mat crankier then when I started, but I must say the act of just sitting everyday regardless has strengthened my will power and my dedication to show up for myself. It’s become such an ingrained habit, I now just do it, just as I would brush my teeth every day. Patience combined with diligence is everything.

Visualize your highest self and start showing up as her- unknown

Never doubt your own will power. You are capable of achieving anything. According to a study by Stanford University, the amount of willpower a person has is determined by their beliefs. Believe in yourself, do whatever it takes to motivate yourself, and when you can’t find the motivation just do it anyway. One of my affirmations I used was “JFDI” (just F*cking Do It!). You will never always be motivated. Discipline is doing it no matter what your emotional state is.

You deserve to live the life of your dreams and you have everything you need in order to get there. Self-discipline is loving yourself enough to give yourself everything you’ve ever wanted.

Have you experienced self-love through self-discipline? Share your story with me in the comments below!



I’ve been watching my grandmother take care of my grandfather for the last year or so, dedicatedly taking him to appointments, helping him with most things and taking on so many more responsibilities that they use to share, as he’s becoming less able to do so. A few months a ago she underwent her own little health scare, and I know some of it must be due to compassion fatigue.             Something that is emerging in the science of emotion, is the discovery of something called mirror neurons. These special neurons help us perceive in our own bodies what others are experiencing. There are also areas in the brain dedicated to gauging social situations and resonating with the emotions of others. This type of empathetic resonance often happens at a preverbal, visceral level. According to K.Neff & C. Germer (2018), “Empathetic resonance is evolutionary adaptive because it allows us to cooperate with one another to better raise our young and defend ourselves against danger. We are hardwired for social interaction.”             Although empathy is usually a good thing, it can also be a problem, because sometimes when we are resonating with others in pain, we feel their pain as our own. This can be a very overwhelming experience for some. I am no stranger to this feeling. When my sister got stitches in grade 3, I immediately fell sick, when I’ve had friends talk about their surgeries, I’ve passed out—I sense things so deeply from others that it affects me in a very real way. In some ways or another we all have this ability to feel the pain of others, and have developed different ways to cope with it. Often it involves tuning the other person out, or trying to immediately fix it.  For example, have you ever opened up to someone about a struggle you were having and they immediately jumped in with advice on how to fix it, without really listening to your story? Or perhaps you have done this to someone? Sometimes the empathetic distress of another can bring up fears or memories in our own lives, so instead of sitting with the discomfort we immediately jump in with advice to distract ourselves from sitting with our own pain. When I was recently at the hospital with my Grandpa he talked about the reality of his live coming to an end, and how much pain he was in. Many other family members would chime in that “Most people would be so happy to make it into their 90s” and so on. I took his hand and looked at him and said, “it’s okay to be feeling how you are feeling”, and he finally was validated and started to tear up. Compassion is the ability to hold pain without immediately having to make it go away. It also allows forges an emotional connection for the person who is experiencing it to know they are being heard and cared about. For me it’s been hard to grow to a place where I can be with someone in their pain without being triggered. Some days are better than others, but I can tell you very clearly, that upholding empathy for others begins with compassion for ourselves. The days I am more connected to myself (through meditation, mindful movement, and self-awareness), the easier it is to be there for others. To be able to maintain a connection to yourself, and stay aware of our reactions while listening to another’s story allows you to hold space for the person without interrupting and undermining their experience. Sometimes it doesn’t feel right to think about yourself when someone we love is going through a much more difficult time than us—but when we also must recognize that we need to find a natural balance to maintain our level of support. A helpful mindfulness exercise I adapted from the The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook is to practice an “In for Me, Our for You” breath.

Once settling yourself in to a comfortable seat and relaxing your body begin to notice your breath.As you draw the breath in, draw kindness and compassion in for yourself and as you exhale,  breathe kindness and compassion out for the other person.If you wish, you can focus a little more on yourself (“two for me and one for you”) or vice versa (“one for me, three for you”, or just let it be an equal flow—whatever feels right in the moment.Drop any effort and just be with the natural, spontaneous flow of the breath.         Feel the limitless ocean of compassion healing you and the other person simultaneously.     5.  When you feel done, gently open your eyes. 

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

This is the ultimate goal and promise of all Yogic Scriptures.

I remember a time thinking, I have the “perfect” life, so why am I still unhappy? I felt so tired of filling myself up with temporary things to bring flashes of happiness & excitement, only to be followed by sadness and lack. The world wasn’t giving me answers to the questions I so deeply wanted answered. I remember thinking at 21, “is this what life is all about?” I so longed for something more. That more and so much more, came to me when I started learning the teachings of Yoga.

All this reflection came over the last 4 days where we spent time in the tea hills of the Nilgiri Mountains with the most beautiful and conducive backdrop to truly “retreat” in its deeper meaning- to withdraw from the outer world and give time and space to look inward. We spent this time studying a Yoga scripture called the Amritabindu Upanishad (the essence of immortality) that felt like a summation of all the teachings I have learnt up until now, and it made me look back and realize just how far I have come to understand life in a completely different perspective. I don’t think I would even recognize my  21 year old self, and can’t imagine where I would be now if I didn’t find this path and  my Guru.

The eternal peace that yoga offers is the bait that keeps me going. Despite the hard work, perseverance, commitment and ruthless self-reflection and acceptance it takes, this promise of eternal peace makes it all worth it. Someone asked at the retreat, “if it takes life times and so much work, is it even worth it?”. My Guru replied, “Only a few in 8 billion people are billionaires, but we all still dream of becoming rich”. It’s not just a pipe dream either. Working towards this eternal inner peace (enlightenment) has revealed to me so much more peace, confidence, clarity, assurance and strength to deal with my current reality.

Studying the Amritabindu Upanishad was a great reminder that Yoga is a step by step process towards this inner peace. There is so much wisdom backed in just 22 verses, but these are the top 3 I felt most compelled to share, and I will continue to write more on each in later posts.  

Verse 1: The mind is primarily spoken to be of two types only, pure and impure. The impure mind is that which is possessed of kama (binding desire), and the pure is that which is devoid of Kama (binding desire). 

Practical tips from this:

  • All yoga techniques are ultimately designed to work on the mind. ***note: not just stretching the body

  • A “pure” thought is something that will lead you to liberation, an “impure” thought is something that will bring limitation, so try your best to move towards liberating thoughts.

  • The mind is just an apparatus/tool to lead you to Eternal inner peace- You already ARE that Eternal peace. Example: The mind is like a boat to take you across the river, when you get to the other side, you do not take the boat with you. Don’t get stuck in the boat (analyzing all the thoughts as an answer to solve the problem).

  • Kama: A binding desire is something that fills your inner vacuum (the feeling of lack that consciously and unconsciously draws us to externals to make us feel whole)

  • The mind becomes pure when we remove the Kama (binding desire) out of the equation.

Verse 2: It is indeed the mind alone that is the cause of bondage and liberation. The mind that is attached to sense-objects leads to bondage, while disassociated from sense-objects it tends to lead to liberation. 

Practical tips from this:

  • Again it reminds us that it is the MIND alone that we need to transform and that the mind is just the tool that will lead us to liberation (eternal inner peace)

  • Sense objects are never ending and comprise of our likes, dislikes, wants, distractions etc, and create the many identities we have of ourselves in our mind.

  • Yoga is a process of peeling back the layers of all these identities created to reveal our true nature (Eternal Inner Peace)

  • Sense objects (all externals) are transient by nature: come and go- rationally it makes no sense to cling to these things as it creates a cycle of happiness seeking and sadness avoiding, rather focus on the permanence of the SELF within.

  • One way to do this is through Vairagya or detachment: letting go of the objects and moving closer to the subject (YOU)= Abhyasa (Practice of elevating yourself) We can think about this simply as, “filling up your own cup from inside, not outside.

  • How will we know if we are progressing? External dependencies should reduce on all levels, mind, emotions, physically, materialistically. As well as less blaming others for your problems because you have gained  inner self sufficiency.  

Verse 3: Since Liberation is predicated of the mind devoid of desire for sense-objects, therefore, the mind should always be made free of such desire by the seeker of liberation. 

Practical tips from this:

  • Liberation happens when we can peel back all the layers that are based in external identity until all that is left to be revealed is our true nature

  • Therefore we should constantly be reminding ourselves of our true nature as we go about playing the roles in the external world

  • Play your roles but don’t let them become your identity, your true nature is that of the Self (Eternal inner peace)

  • Life is the best “school” to teach us to move away from the external and towards our true nature because life & people are the greatest experience givers.

  • Our path needs to be from Bhoga to Yoga= only experiencing vs. experiencing and using it for liberation.

  • Discernment is knowing what to choose at any given moment and the best question to ask yourself is, “will this (thought, action, object etc.) liberate me, or limit me?”

As always studying such scriptures inspire me so much to dig deeper into my own practice. Making the commitment to come to India each year to be with my teacher is an essential part of my growth and development as a seeker and student on the path of Yoga. Every time I get to study with him I am blessed with life lessons and experiences that deepens my faith, brings clarity and understanding and fulfills my longing to keep diving deeper into the vast teachings of yoga. My passion to share with you all stems from these incredible blessings. 



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