Question: Beloved Swamiji, please could you teach us how to develop self-discipline so that we may continue to practice yoga, particularly in a non-supportive environment? Most of us are not disciplined when left alone.
Answer: Stay here [at the Yogaville ashram] for some time and learn discipline, and then go home. Or, if you want to do it yourself, begin with small, small, small things. Discipline you should not take big things to do; take small, small, small things. Like maybe, if you are taking tea or coffee or some drink with two spoons of sugar, make it one and one-half spoons. When you achieve that, you gain confidence. Little by little. Little by little. Small, small, small things. If you are sleeping with two pillows, take off one pillow and sleep. Miss a meal. Miss a breakfast. Small, small tests. And if you pass that test, you gain confidence. And probably, slowly you can go to bigger things.
Sometimes, if you do not do what you had decided to do, you can punish yourself also. Like — no breakfast today if you missed a practice or no lunch or no movie or no TV. Something like small, small punishments. You can punish yourself. So gradually you develop that discipline if you are doing it by yourself.
It will be easier if you are accompanied by someone else following the same thing. That is why I advise you to stay in Yogaville for some time, develop that capacity, and then go home. And then whenever you fail at that, come again.
“Most of us are not disciplined when left alone.” Don’t put yourself in a lonely place. Try to be around like-minded people. Then you are not alone. Something. You have to find out ways and means to do it yourself.