The first 2 of the 8 steps of Ashtanga as defined by Patanjali are Yamas and Nyamas and enclose the ethics and the correct lifestyle to follow when deciding to undertake the path of Yoga in a more or less serious way. These are not esoteric indications particularly difficult to obtain, but you have to commit a little ' to understand really their meaning. Take for instance the Nyama Tapas, which, for many traditional Yoga schools is the fundamental precept: discipline. Literally translated, the word means "to create warmth" and emphasizes the control of the body, the speech and the mind, so as to transform the instinctive fire of desire into that of awareness and power.
When we practice silence, fasting and the immobility of certain parts of the body (for example during the seated meditation), this control develops and self-discipline improves. We may (and perhaps should) apply tapas to any area of our lives. If we want to learn English, we must study the grammar, learn the syntax, memorise the words, however, going to class once a week will do little for our fluency of the language, unless we also practice at home, maybe watching a TV Show or reading a book in English. Same goes for tennis, DIY, computer science, anything we wish (or must) learn, requires commitment and discipline or there will always be someone who has committed more than us and will enjoy the holidays, win tournaments or be hired instead of us.
In yoga, fortunately, Tapas is not to be used to "beat others", instead it is used to feel better, to relax in silence, to be able to perform an asana in a correct and beneficial way. It can be used to be able to break free from attachment (not only to things materials), to learn to "listen", not just during practice, but especially off the mat.
Discipline in practice means perseverance, of course, commitment and effort, however, one must remember to be disciplined even in letting go and welcoming with open arms Santosha (Yama), the happiness that comes from truly enjoying the present moment, without judgment and without haste to be better than the others. For many yoga practitioners this concept is difficult to understand and often so much is the rush to get to the “complex” position, that they miss ¾ of the journey.
Perhaps, to develop a discipline that is both healthy and proactive, we need to break free from the feeling of competitiveness (and the EGO!!!) that has become deeply rooted in the soul of our century and take life a little easier.