Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Don't you, ever, get too, comfortable...

FRIDAY - 2:00pm 
Yoga Vida - 666 Broadway @ Bond Street

EXCITING NEWS: I am officially on the sub list at Yoga Vida! That means many more classes to come. This is the next big step on a journey that was admittedly very scary to begin. I am so thrilled to be able to deepen and share my practice and to continue on this path. 
Comfort zone, schmomfort zone!

Close your eyes. Well, after you read this paragraph THEN close your eyes and imagine you're a dog. You've just moved into a new house with a GREAT big yard and no visible fence. Amazing! You decide to go out and explore the expansive forest just beyond your property line but as you get close to the edge of the woods you start to feel something... not pain exactly, but it doesn't feel good. It's an intensely uncomfortable vibrating feeling that totally freaks you out. Not wanting to feel this new and unpleasant feeling, you decide to back away and try again tomorrow. Tomorrow, same deal. Weird, icky, uncomfortable buzzing sensation as soon as you get close enough to look out into the big, open, wooded area full of wildlife and potential adventures. You want to see what's out there, but not bad enough to force yourself to go through the unfamiliar and unpleasant sensations. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow the buzzing will be gone? You go through this routine for about a week until you finally decide to give up and just lay in the grass. Who even knows what's out there past the yard? Why suffer to find out?

We all have an electric fence around our lives and it's called our comfort zone. As soon as we start to move past its soft, mushy edges we start to feel those nervous feelings...butterflies in our stomach, racing thoughts, sweaty palms, tightness in the chest. They don't hurt us, but we don't like them either. We are so averse to those feelings that we allow ourselves to be constrained by our comfort zones, rarely daring to dip a toe into the cold, rushing water of freedom. Playing it safe allows us to avoid the uncomfortability of uncertainty yet it holds us prisoner in our own "yards" like a house pet. There are no visible bars, walls, or fences around our lives and our choices but this barrier is just as real. Just try doing something new or scary and you'll sense it immediately. Some of us - the risk takers and dreamers amongst us- have a more fluid comfort zone, but everyone's got one. There will always be people, settings, choices and changes that test us. They give us an opportunity to work through the murkiness that exists between safety and the great wide world that's out there on the other side. The trick to crossing over is to embrace the ickiness. Get into that ickiness and stay there until it's icky no more! Know that it is the gateway to everything new, bigger, and bolder that's been there all along, waiting for us to come and claim it.

The asana practice is all about being uncomfortable. Anyone who tells you that being bound, balancing on one leg, or putting their foot behind their head is "comfortable" is lying. Sure, it gets more easeful the more you do it but each asana is like a mini electric fence. You put yourself into a position that makes you want to freak out and run away just a little bit, but then you stay there and force yourself to breathe. Calmly. The more you do the poses, the more the urge to bolt out of them fades away. Hip openers? Tough, but not unbearable. Balancing postures? Frustrating at times but centering. Inversions? Scary but strangely fun and liberating. 

Little by little your comfort zone grows and grows and grows until you almost never feel the buzzing. Big changes or confrontations that previously would have sent you running for cover, now barely register on your freak-out scale. This is not to say that everything is easy- not by any means- but you're not afraid of the unease. You don't run from the uncomfortability. You enjoy the buzzing sensation and anticipate what comes as it begins to fade. You know that this murkiness is what exists between the shore where you currently stand and the clear, open, running water of the ocean. 

Let's get uncomfortable this week, both on the mat and off. 

Break on through to the other side!!