During this morning’s boot camp class, I talked about listening to your body, the importance of discerning discomfort from pain. When we feel something in our yoga asana practice, we need to take notice and discern if it is discomfort or pain. Pain is a STOP sign. It says, “Stop what you’re doing right now … Do not pass ‘go,’ do not collect $200!”
Discomfort, though, is like a YIELD sign — saying, “Slow down here & pay attention. Consider your next move.” Some of us are too quick to move AWAY from discomfort to a more familiar, less challenging, place (which we unknowingly deem “safe”) AND thereby miss out on an opportunity for growth. Many times if we can just stay in the pose, breathe, & work through the discomfort, we become stronger, more flexible, more steady. We deepen our practice. We strengthen our resolve.
But sometimes, that “Discomfort YIELD” sign IS signaling, “Hey you’re possibly headed in the wrong direction here (read: alignment). Stop sign — PAIN — just around the corner!” When you experience discomfort, YIELD & decide the appropriate course of action for you. When you experience pain, you must STOP!
The same thing is true in your life off the mat. (Isn’t it always!?) Discomfort in our life (relationships, profession, health) is a sign to YIELD and figure out our next move. If we are too quick to revert to our comfort zone, we miss out on important opportunities for growth.
Consider this in the context of a relationship with a partner. Maybe one’s tendency when things get tough is to turn to other people; not necessarily affairs per se, but simply popping off to friends or dissing your partner to family. There is comfort in that, perhaps, but not growth. And if that’s what you’ve always done, then it’s so just so easy to take that path every time. It is as if you’ve seen the trusty U-turn sign: “Take me back to my safety zone now!”
The alternative, the yield sign approach, is to pause and consider your next course of action. Maybe we just need to endure, hold fast & steady, & in that we find the deeper meaning. On the other hand, maybe we DO need to change something — the way we communicate, the way we address conflict, and YIKES perhaps OURSELVES!
You must choose for yourself: sometimes the best course IS endurance and sometimes — like your asana practice — you really DO need to “change your alignment.”
FINAL THOUGHT … When we don’t acknowledge & address life’s discomfort in some way, it almost always moves from discomfort to PAIN.
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
~ M. Scott Peck
May the signage in your life be clear & well placed,