It’s been two years since I’ve walked into a yoga class. My muscles have formed a very tight union. Like most unions, they typically get what they demand. When I entered a yoga studio a few days ago, they quickly took to the picket line. The class I participated in purposely used gravity to assist in stretching out muscles that resist. Let’s just say, “My body will never be the same again.”
But it’s what happened in my mind that’s most revealing. With each new pose or position, the instructor would leave our bodies in a pretzel-like, inhuman kind of situation for what appeared to be weeks. My mind would tirade, “This is too much.” “You can’t do this.” “You’re going to get hurt, really bad.” While the calming music played, the soothing instructor spoke words of encouragement and the participants quietly breathed in and out, my mind was in all-out-panic mode. Finally, I realized — I’m uncomfortable. That’s all it is. I’m uncomfortable. I’m not dying. I’m not being mistreated. I’m not in a threatening situation. I’m just uncomfortable.
I wonder how often my all-out-panicked mind gets me to bail when I’m feeling uncomfortable. It was shocking to recognize how unwilling I was to be uncomfortable. Especially when I’ve been taught that staying in our comfort zone kills our adaptability, our growth and our inspiration. And I want all of that.
No new experiences, no challenges, no risks . . . may keep us warm and cozy but I suspect you wanted more out of life than that. Pushing ourselves helps us uncover what we are made of. Settling for warm and cozy is too big a price to pay.
Dan Stevens, an English actor known for his role in Downton Abbey, has said, “The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears.” Go gain new perspective and conquer some fear by making small changes in the every day and the familiar.