Being Breath

stories from the wilderness of everyday life

A.M. Discomfort

Ugh.  First day back to school.

I am not a morning person.  Trying to wake my two children up to get one on the bus when I can barely function myself is quite difficult - particularly when we are out of habit.

This morning I snoozed through many alarms and got us up just in time to leisurely rush through breakfast, dressing, and teeth brushing.  I snuck in about 5 minutes of yoga on the mat, if for no other reason than to lessen the creaks and moans that were coming from my joints.  (For you youngin's out there - yeah.  It happens.  It'll happen to you too.)

And wouldn't you know it - with only 5 minutes on the mat, I still picked up something.  I chose to do a few seated wide-leg stretches and head-to-knee poses to stretch myself (physically & mentally).  I'm really tight in hamstrings, psoas, etc. - as in I can bend maybe 5 degrees forward with a straight back when in seated forward bend.  So when in these poses, I am completely aware of my limits.  And I play with the discomfort.


How many times do you find yourself uncomfortable and move to get yourself out of it?  If you do yoga, think about those poses you dread.  If you do or don't practice yoga, think about an upcoming uncomfortable meeting with someone (friend or business), an encounter with someone asking for money, a medical appointment you've been avoiding.  How often do you start to feel the tension and back away?  Or perhaps you fight through tension, pushing and pushing yourself until something or someone (usually yourself) gets hurt.  (I can ask both of these because in both scenarios, I've been there, done that - repeatedly.)

I do some poses now where I can feel those belly rolls.  Now THAT is uncomfortable.  I am made aware that they are there, that this is now who I am.  95% of you reading this will completely understand the anxiety that comes with being forced to face body issues.

And yet, if I backed away from the poses where I felt my fat and experienced discomfort* in the back of my legs, I would be cheating myself out of the entire purpose of yoga.  I would be moving away from bodily awareness, awareness of my thoughts and reactions to those, awareness and acknowledgement of what is.

(*Please note: I use discomfort, not pain.  If you are feeling pain, it is usually a sign to back off.  Not going far enough or going too far in any situation can cause harm.)

It is why I practice yoga.  Why I practice awareness.  Why day in and day out, I challenge myself to be aware and non-judgmental of my own body, my own thoughts, and those of others.  I work to change what I can (note to self: no donuts for breakfast today) without judging it as bad.

I offer you my sincere wishes for a fruitful practice for you today, tomorrow, and each forthcoming day - whether that occurs on the mat in an asana or off the mat when the alarm goes off and everything but another snooze is extreme discomfort.

We'll practice, make mistakes, succeed, .... and repeat it all .... together.

Namaste.