One of the niyamas or observances in yoga is called tapas, which is interpreted as austerity (simplicity) or spiritual discipline. Sometimes we reject the idea of discipline because we value being free spirited and discipline doesn’t seem to fit in with the idea of freedom. When we examine more deeply what it means to be disciplined, though, we begin to see that it can create more freedom.
Sometimes practicing tapas can simply mean saying no to those commitments that do not propel us in the direction of our dreams. When we take on projects or obligations that do not help us to achieve our goals we essentially waste our resources; we do not have the time or energy to work on the things that matter most to us. Determine which commitments support the direction you want to take in your life and truly commit to those and let others go. It is important that we do not practice tapas by being forceful with ourselves, that’s never healthy. Simply keep in mind what it is you are trying to accomplish- your intentions for your life- and set your course toward those intentions. Setting your course toward your intentions simplifies your life and can bring about more peace as you de-clutter your own mind.