Change can be hard. I see this play out in each class. Students will place their mats in the same place class after class, almost without thought or notice. Even in the practice itself, students will move in a habituated manner.
I’m not any different. I would say change has been one of the greatest challenges in my life. I want predictability, stability, and I want to know what to expect. This feeling of sameness provides a sense of safety. But, here’s what life has taught me: change is inevitable. Isn’t there a saying, the only sure thing is change? And it’s true. We are constantly evolving and changing. I believe we are meant to do this.
Inevitably, in every class I’ll have a student, or two, remark “I feel a stretch! This is uncomfortable.” I don’t deny it. I tell my students how it is. I say, “Yep, it sure is uncomfortable. You have a couple of choices: stop being in the pose or pay attention to the breath.” For the students that choose to pay attention to their breath the pose becomes more comfortable, their body relaxes. We really have two choices in life: to avoid dealing with the discomfort or tightness in the body or address it. I ask people that do nothing (no yoga, no stretching, no walking, no exercise) how doing nothing is working for them. Their response is not surprising. They tell me they feel discomfort throughout the day and often pain. My response isn’t always what they want to hear, but it goes like this: “So, you feel uncomfortable when you don’t do any sort of movement or exercise, right?” And here they nod their head In agreement. I pause and say, “When you’re in a pose on the mat, you also experience discomfort, right?” “To which they will nod their head up and down emphatically. “Okay, you have two choices the way I see it: you can either proactively put yourself through some mild discomfort in the yoga poses and experience GREATER overall well-being OR you can do nothing and feel uncomfortable most of the time. You choose, but it looks like either way you’re going to be uncomfortable. For me, I proactively create gentle discomfort and make peace with it through the breath so I feel better overall.”
Lately my life has been changing rapidly and even though many of the changes I love and celebrate, it is still change nevertheless. Change is still hard for me, I still get scared, and it’s still uncomfortable. In the past, I’d let the slightest discomfort stop me from doing what I wanted. Now, the discomfort comes and I note it, and I breathe through it.
Change is happening right now even as we speak and it will continue to do so. How you handle it is up to you – that’s where you have control and power. Let the power and peaceful strength of the breath guide you to move through change.