I close my eyes. I can feel my heart racing. I feel like I could fall. My breathing speeds up. I want to escape this uncomfortable feeling. I start to think “How do I get out of here?”
Then I remember where I am. I open my eyes.
My feet are firmly planted on the ground. I’m on my mat in yoga class.
I’m not in any danger, and the worst that can happen is that I drop a few inches to the mat, but for some reason the posture I’m in (crescent lunge) often makes me want to BOLT. It puts me outside of my comfort zone. It makes me feel unsteady. But this is the beauty of yoga, and the life experiences that stretch our body, mind and spirit.
Yoga class is a great place to learn to be ok outside the comfort zone. I consider it my weekly tutorial in managing discomfort.
Our yoga teacher, Julia, reminds us that our pose begins when we want to leave it. This is true on and off the mat. When the inevitable awkwardness, uncertainty, discomfort and the unknown comes our way there may be no way around it. Making the time and space to be present in these moments will reveal the path that goes straight through it.
Just as I get comfortable in a posture, our yoga teacher, Michelle, encourages us to go a little further. Why on Earth would I want to?
This is the pop quiz in the tutorial.
Part of me worries about getting wobbly or loosing my footing, but then I remember to use this moment to work on letting go a little…or a lot… depending on the day. What am I letting go of? I’m consciously letting go of that worry, expectation, fear and any other thoughts or feelings that hold me back. These are the feelings that keep us in our comfort zone.
Yoga is just one path to build the inner strength needed to break free of our comfort zones and melt away the anxiety and stress associated with this move. Other practices that help include meditation, spending time in nature, deep breathing, tai chi, qi gong or any practice that will slow your breathing down, help you turn inward and clear your mind.
This is a life class I would highly recommend for everyone. There is something magical that happens when we stretch beyond.