Growth Through Discomfort
I believe that growth is the purpose of life, this is why I love teaching Yin yoga so much. I believe my soul’s purpose in this life is to learn lessons so I can come back next time as a more compassionate, kind and loving human. Putting myself in difficult situations is the key to learning these lessons and experiencing growth.
I often tell my Yin yoga students that the feeling of discomfort is necessary for their growth. As they rest in Pigeon pose and feel their hip muscles being stretched, they don’t always feel comfortable or even enjoy the feeling. But I remind them that that feeling of discomfort is what is creating growth in the deep connective tissues.
If you were to plant a small, baby tree you would tie it to support posts. These posts keep it standing upright when the wind blows and help to keep it supported and alive. At some point, though, you need to untie the tree so it can create its own support system below the ground. If the tree always had support and was never challenged it would fall over at the slightest breeze, even if it looked strong and tall from the outside. The tree needs to be challenged and experience discomfort to experience the growth necessary to support itself.
As humans we’re not so different. Growth can be physical, like your experience through your asana practice where you could go from not being able to touch your toes to putting your palms on the floor. But growth can also be mental, emotional or spiritual.
A Yin yoga practice challenges you mentally as you sit in discomfort and redirect your focus from how challenging it is, to creating a calming breath.
You can grow emotionally by having difficult conversations or practicing compassion when someone is rude to you.
Spiritually you can grow by learning about new belief systems, attending services in religions you’ve never practiced before or exploring Jnana yoga.
Ultimately, learning new things, facing your fears and doing things you’ve never done before will make you uncomfortable but these can lead to growth in all directions.
Is there something that makes you uncomfortable that you think could ultimately lead to your growth?
I started practicing yoga over a decade ago when my sister introduced me to it. For the next couple years I practiced sporadically and mostly focused on asana and the physical benefits. Soon, I started practicing yoga more regularly as a way to manage stress and find relaxation. I decided to take the leap and become a yoga teacher to deepen my knowledge of yoga beyond the asana (the postures). And the story continues to this day.