Replacing Unhealthy Habits: Making Changes

Being new to yoga, and I mean really new; only having practiced for a year and very inconsistently. I decided to go into Axis’s yoga teacher training program as a self-practice in hopes of it leading into a career change. I am seeking change in myself. I am seeking clarity and balance in my life. So, having the option to choose my first experiment I was immediately drawn to Tapas.
Tapasya in Sandskrit means “to burn”. My understandings for this particular Niyama in which I have chosen to experiment with was to observe habitual patterns in within myself and in my life that are not healthy, acknowledge them and change them. Burn them off. And/or restraining from these said desires will create a heat that I then must release through some yogic practice.
My tapas for many years has been drinking, partying and “following the crowd” so to speak. I never really had any self discipline, no regular bed-time; no particular guidance in my eating habits only the whole no carbs thing because you HAVE to be skinny in the entertainment world. I worked out to be fit, but only to fit in. I worked very hard in the production field but when it came down to knowing me and who I really was, I had done no work at all. I have been, for years so caught up in the social crowd, I was portraying this image of myself but underneath I had no foundation. As time went on I started to realize how vain and ugly the industry really was and most of all I was becoming one of “them”. I made the first conscious decision that I had made in a long time, and decided to take some time off. Being out of the industry for a full year now, I have moved around quite a bit trying to “find” clarity but instead….I partied! I thought “I can party, it’s not like I have a 7am call time, it’s not like I have to workout to be skinny any more, or eat healthy to be skinny anymore”. This wasn’t the soul searching I set out for. So, for my tapas I have decided to give up alcohol, partying, caffeine and red meat.
Refraining from all the things that have lead me into an unhealthy life style I decided to counter act with a morning routine; a fifteen minute asana practice, followed by fifteen minutes of pranayama (usually the eight Kriyas or a few variations) and fifteen minutes of meditation. My nightly routine would consist of fifteen minutes of meditation and nadi-sodinah before bed, followed by five minutes of belly breathing for cooling.