I thought to post this interesting view/definition of asceticism:
Asceticism (from the Greek: ἄσκησις, áskēsis, "exercise" or "training") describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals. Some forms of Christianity (see especially Monastic life) and the Indian religions (including yoga) teach salvation and liberation and involve a process of mind-body transformation effected by exercising restraint with respect to actions of body, speech, and mind. The founders and earliest practitioners of these religions (e.g. Buddhism, Jainism, the Christian desert fathers) lived extremely austere lifestyles, refraining from sensual pleasures and the accumulation of material wealth. This is to be understood not as an eschewal of the enjoyment of life, but a recognition that spiritual and religious goals are impeded by such indulgence.
Those who practice ascetic lifestyles do not consider their practices virtuous in themselves, but pursue such a lifestyle to encourage, or 'prepare the ground' for, mind-body transformation.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asceticism