Lean Into the Discomfort

Discomfort. It is the one thing we try so hard to avoid. We take pills. We make ourselves busy. We drink tequila. We avoid people we don’t like. No one likes feeling out of their comfort zone, away from their home base, scared or alone.

I see it all the time in my yoga classes. The second the muscles start to burn or the sweat starts to drip, they are done. Holding these poses — chaturanga, chair, even warrior 2  — creates a bigger challenge. They get mad. I can hear their grunts and see their eye rolls and it’s like I can read their mind: How long is she going to hold me here? Is this safe? Is she insane? I hate this teacher!

I have had students walk out. I have had them say they can’t take the heat or the long holds or the discomfort one more second. I understand. But I wish they wouldn’t.

Because in the physical practice of yoga, the asana, we lean into the discomfort. Are you sweating? Good. Are you shaking? Better. Do you want to come out of the pose? Perfect. Because in that moment, when your mind and body are fighting you, then the real yoga starts. Then we settle in and use that breath. Then we learn how to wrestle our demons.

It can’t happen emotionally and spiritually if it doesn’t happen physically first. If you can’t confront your discomfort on your mat, you almost certainly won’t be able to do it off your mat.

Discomfort — not injurious pain — is part of our path of growth. We have to shake and sweat and get a little out of breath, both literally and figuratively, if we want to see results and forward momentum. So let’s get a little uncomfortable. Let’s breath into it. Let’s shake. Let’s sweat. Let’s find that forward momentum together.

There is no way out, but through. The people who believe this get those most out of their yoga and their life. I promise. Live it on your mat so you can live it off the mat, too.


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