Discipline: it does you good

Neuroscience is beginning to prove what our elders have long told us: discipline does you good.

By intentionally creating and repeating new habits, we can change our brains. We build new neuro pathways that alter…in some cases very dramatically…our perceptions and our lives.

‘Actions are not impositions on who we are, but expressions of who we are.’ -Dallas Willard

Bikram yoga is a carefully defined practice, which emphasizes two types of disciplined behaviors: disciplines of engagement and disciplines of withdrawal.


  1. Taking class (3 to 6 times per week)
  2. Moving in synchrony with the group
  3. Completing all the postures, each side, each set, each class
  4. Staying in the room during class
  5. Focusing your eyes in one spot, according to the posture (drishti)
  6. Concentrating and meditating
  7. Building friendships within the studio community
  8. Reading/study
  9. Self reflection (that’s what the mirrors are for!)


  1. Maintaining silence during class
  2. Waiting to take water until specified breaks
  3. Leaving belongings and electronic devices outside the yoga room
  4. Clearing your mind; leaving your ‘life’ and all its worries outside the yoga room
  5. Following your teacher’s instructions (surrendering your personal agenda/preferences, in a safe and respectful way)

Why go to all this trouble? It prepares us for life outside the room. So we make better decisions, both in calm situations and in crisis.

Meditation changes your brain
Yoga changes your brain

Ultimately, the goal is a state of higher equilibrium and connection, also known as ‘samadhi’.

‘Samadhi can be compared to normal thought as a laser beam can be compared to normal light. Normal light is diffuse. A laser beam is highly concentrated light. The laser beam contains power that normal light does not. Similarly, samadhi is the mind in its most concentrated state. The mind in samadhi possess power that a normal mind does not.’

Want to learn more about the effect of (spiritual) disciplines on your brain?

Check out this interview on NPR. And then come to yoga.

Sources: Jane Clark; Rachael Kerns-Wetherington; David Guerrigues; Bikram Choudhury; Wikipedia

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