Commitment and discipline are words that most people struggle with. When you read Anat’s Stick To It blog or our 6 Questions: Commitment and Discipline , you get insight in to how people from different disciplines and different parts of the world feel when they hear these words.
It’s interesting to think about why we react so strongly to words like this, discipline can elicit flashbacks from school or childhood and commitment has lost its place in today’s society: work wise, in relationships and even when it comes to reading educational or inspirational content – for some a blog post is literally too much commitment to finish until the end.
We are very grateful that we have a very loyal and committed community here at The Fat Yogis, you have made a commitment to be part of our tribe and most of you have the discipline to do yoga and meditation with us at home and we love to see that! With our first edition of The Home Retreat we saw how dedicated our community was, over 300 of you committed to take part and finished the program right to the end – we know how difficult this can be to do at home. And this is what we love… A community that is growing and thriving together whether it’s digital or face to face.
Commitment is what is lacking these days in the yoga world in general. Years ago one would study regularly under the guidance of a single teacher for a long period. You could call it loyalty, but for us this was commitment to a teacher or school and having the discipline to show up regularly in order to improve and evolve. When we say improve or evolve, we don’t mean improvement of the asanas and evolving into a crazy flexible human being. This was all with the goal of personal growth and development, of creating compassion and understanding for the world around us, and the ultimate goal of reaching enlightenment .
Both Anat and I study in the “old” way – we have one teacher, Paul Grilley, that we’ve studied with for many years and will continue to do so. We don’t position him as a guru that we blindly follow, simply a great teacher we can learn so much from, someone who has studied this material intensively for more than 4 decades.
We know that in modern life this isn’t really the way and for most modern “yogis” picking a teacher and sticking with them is too much. People want to do a couple of classes a week and with differing reasons for practice – and this is all good, one should do whatever fits one best, right? In the current times of ClassPass and OneFit (or similar offerings elsewhere in the world) it seems that commitment isn’t required anymore, yoga classes are now treated like a commodity – there is so much choice that we are all scared of actually making a choice – so we don’t. Why stick to one studio only when you can have them all? I know that most yoga studios join one of these schemes and mostly without wanting to because they struggle to survive without it – the changing attitudes of students and the heavy competition with other studios (in Amsterdam there is a crazy amount these days) means they need to play along.
There are many benefits to flexibility and choice but as with most things, these come at a cost. We can look at it in a couple of different ways; First of all, most yoga students don’t have one teacher or school anymore and in my opinion this doesn’t really help with the important bit, personal growth. You get too much information from different sources and in many cases telling you totally different things. Secondly, it’s difficult to grow a Sangha or Kūla, a community that’s committed to helping each other to grow. Where friendships arise and students thrive together which is so incredibly important. Lastly, I think it is so sad for the studios. It’s difficult for them to maintain a healthy business; prices are driven down as ClassPass and OneFit are very cheap and it’s very difficult to survive.
ClassPass and OneFit can be great if you are searching for the right place for you, checking out different styles, teacher and spaces to find the one that connects with your heart and your circumstances makes complete sense, but, what happens if you find the studio or teacher that you connect with and you can only go once a week? Is it worth the convenience?
If you’re a member of ClassPass or OneFit and you find something you like why not try taking the plunge and committing for a while? Dig deep and find the discipline to go regularly to one school and see what happens. Maybe it’s worth foregoing the ‘flexibility’ and discovering something even more exciting!
Photo by Geert Pieters