January 2020: On Discipline


Today, 7am, on 17 January 2020

On discipline

I hope you had the loveliest start of the year. One month in, I am very excited about 2020. For me, this will be the year of breath, as I received funding to go to pranayama teacher training with Sudhir Tiwari for a whole year and was accepted to study for two weeks in Kaivalyadham, India, with his father, O.P. Tiwari. I will also have a book chapter on breath published by My Bibliothèque and will develop two performance pieces with breath at their core. And, of course, my regular pranayama classes at Rosina Bonsu Moves!

Being fully booked until November 2020 has made me consider discipline in the context of yoga practice. For someone like me, who thrives with clear boundaries, discipline can be yet another way of hardening and an excuse for negative self-talk. Yet, discipline is none of these things. It comes from the same route as disciple; it is an engagement with a technique in order to learn. It is not a straight jacket, it is not something that, if missed, hell breaks loose and one becomes a bad yogi. True discipline is an opportunity.

Tapas, the third of the five Niyamas (or internal observances) is usually translated as austerities, and also self-discipline. But the literal meaning is heat, or to burn. Through discipline and in practice, we are able to build the heat necessary to purify and to transform. And that, sometimes, means to soften, to rest, to let go, to try less hard. Just like nature if doing right now. It might be a new year but we are in the middle of Winter. Do conserve your energy for February. Are you disciplined enough to listen to what you need?

Laura x




What I have been listening to

These thoughts on discipline are not mine. I first heard them in Yotam’s beautiful practice track There’s a Limit. Here, one of his samples sounds is a voice that speaks about the relation between discipline and listening (about 5.44 minutes in). Such a beautiful track to practice to. Listening to those words has changed my relation to a practice which I find hard to keep in its integrity in these dark and cold January days. It has made it softer, kinder and because of that, easier to return to.



What I have been reading and watching

My yoga philosophy teacher James Boag has done something which I think is courageous. In order to change a long established habit of perfectionism when it comes to sharing his materials, he has decided to publish 30 pieces of work. To date, 7 are available, linked through his facebook page. They are on topics such as Yoga and faith, prayer, ecology, authority, competition … James shows us how to break a pattern, a habit, a tendency, with small steps and learning from the process. The commitment, the boundaries of this task, and the repetition are what constitutes his discipline, his learning from his practice.

James will be coming to Glasgow in March and April and I will be studying with him, discussing Chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita over 10 hours (pure heaven for me). I will also be singing in Kirtan with him so if you are around, join us!



What I have been practicing

I have been paying more attention to the niyamas as discipline,and considering what may shift within me if I return to them every time I feel I am veering away. The niyamas are:
  1. Saucha, or cleanliness (of body, which is easy, of mind, which is not always so. Can I have pure thoughts for myself and other people?)
  2. Santosha, or contentment (Can I exercise gratitude for what I have, rather than focus on what I don’t have or might soon lose?)
  3. Tapas, or heat (Can I tend to the heat that I have built through discipline and not let it die or burn me down?)
  4. Swadhyaya, or self-study (Can I get my yoga to be a learning technology rather than a way of achieving poses or breath ratios? What can it teach me? Can I let it teach me when I need it most?)
  5. Iswara pranidhana, or surrender to the divine (Can I practice by surrendering what I do to something bigger than me, by offering it completely? Who or what do I offer my practice to?)








Monday Mornings  07.45 – 9.30
Tuesdays Evenings 18.25 – 20.30
Thursdays Mornings 07.45 – 9.30
NEXT PRANAYAMA Tuesday 25 February 17.00 – 18.15£11/£9 Arlington members, concession
Class card valid



£25/£23 Arlington members, concessions. Booking advised.

Assisted practice (also known as Mysore style) is the traditional way of learning Ashtanga yoga and, for many people, it is a very effective method. But it can be very daunting too, as practitioners work in silence and in their own time and and at their own pace and breath, rater than in unison under the instruction of a teacher.  In assisted practice, each student gets one to one specific instruction to meet their needs.

In this workshop, Laura will introduce you to the method, learn the key postures in the Primary Series. By the end of this workshop you will feel comfortable and confident to attend regular drop in Mysore classes anywhere in the world as they all practice the same sequence!

Laura will also go through what happens in the Mysore room, explain why it works and will show you how to remember a basic sequence so you can join a self-practice class and deepen your understanding of the postures. If you are new to Ashtanga yoga, there are significant benefits to practising the same sequence of postures: you will become very strong, gain flexibility, range of movement and stamina. You will be able to monitor your breath, once the practice becomes familiar (and it will) attain a state of meditation with the movement. You will also be able to practice at home when you want to.

This workshop is for you if you have attended a few led classes and want to join a Mysore class (you should!), practice something other than Ashtanga yoga and would like to be introduced to this method, or have not practiced for a while and want to refresh your memory of the sequence. Complete beginners are also welcome. After all, this is the way many students are introduced to yoga!



YOGA for STAFF (sign up with HR)
Monday Lunchtime 13.00 – 14.00

YOGA for STUDENTS (check weekly email from RCS sport for room)
Wednesday Evening 18.00 – 19.00
Friday Lunchtime 13.00 – 14.00
£3/£10 for 4 classes