"When we are able to stay even a moment with uncomfortable energy, we gradually learn not to fear it."
- Pema Chodron
I’ve used this quote a few times in classes in the past couple weeks and it’s really been hitting home for me. The mat is our time to practice for life. It's not about doing Warrior 1 for the sake of doing Warrior 1. But rather it's about doing Warrior 1 to see what you can learn there, how it affects you. How it feels.
Time on your mat is to experiment. Let the mat be your lab. If later in your day, you are able to be 1% less reactive, your yoga is working. If you can take a deep breath and be just one tiny bit more steady than you were before yoga, it’s working. If you can approach something scary that you normally wouldn’t, yoga is working. When you have that conversation you’ve been nervous about, when you try a new pose, when you apply for that job or speak your mind. Yoga let’s you practice all of it.
Discomfort is an inevitability. But it doesn't need to create a barrier.
I really notice my practice of handling discomfort when I go to the dentist! Immediately, I notice my whole body tense. Last time I went, they busted out a drill and needles and the tension in my body was real! I came back to my breath. I practiced my same skills I do on my mat - deep belly breaths and softening on every exhalation. Keeping my mind with my breath, finding a rhythm and sinking into it. And still, it wasn't perfectly executed and a stress free experience, but it did work. I felt my hands unclench from the armrests. I felt my forehead release. My shoulders dropped to the chair a bit further. Our breath really matters. That's when you know your yoga is working.