Progress does not promise itself to be easy. Growth is not necessarily comfortable. In fact, sometimes we have to get uncomfortable if we want things to change.
Most great religions claim something to the effect of ask and ye shall receive. But in order for the things that you want to come into your life, room must be made; ergo, a change must occur.
What is your reaction to change? Do you freak out? If so you are not alone, because most people react this way.
Maybe a better reaction would be for us to ride the wave of change and see where it takes us. We must stay aware and be honest of the emotions that come along with scary change, but we should not resist them.
On the Mat, Off the Mat
Yoga teaches us to stay open to possibility. The asana practice does not promise to be comfortable. In fact, if your practice is vigorous, it is often painful at times. Those are just called growing pains.
What is important to pay attention to is our reactions to the pain, because that is often going to be similar to our reactions to change when it presents itself in our lives.
The physical asana practice of yoga is a metaphor for spiritual growth. How we react on the mat is often how we react in life.
The incredible thing about yoga, in my opinion, is that we can grow spiritually and emotionally while maintaining physical health, strength and flexibility through asana.
All yoga asks us to do in order to grow is to remain aware of our reactions to the events that occur in life. Stay present, stay open, stay loving, and everything will work out in the end.
What happens in between asking for what you want and receiving it is a journey. To lose the individual moments of the journey would be a terrible waste of time.
Time is the medium through which life occurs. It is life’s canvas; so it is best not to waste time if we can help it.
Practice Makes Perfect
Since the theme of this week’s blog is discomfort, I will share with you a pose I find terribly uncomfortable. I do it anyway, but it is murder on my coccyx (tailbone).
This pose is called Navasana, or Boat Pose. Full Boat Pose, or Paripurna Navasana, is when the legs are extended, but the pose can also be practiced with the shins parallel to the ground.
- To come into Navasana, begin in a seated position with the knees into the chest.
- Place the hands behind the hamstrings, and pull the knees into the chest. Rock back onto your sitting bones. Pull your lower abs in deeply and straighten the spine. The abdominals are pulled in tightly to the spine.
- Try balancing yourself on your sitting bones with your feet, or at least your heals off the ground. If that feels ok, challenge yourself to lift your shins parallel to the ground. Squeeze your inner thighs together, keep the spine straight, the abs pulled in tightly, and keep the thighs close to the abdomen.
- The next krama, or stage, would be to remove the hands from the hamstrings, and float the arms parallel to the ground. The shoulders blades slightly hug together, and the shoulder joints reach downward toward the hips. The palms remain open. The fingers are active.
- The next krama would be to straighten the legs with the feet flexed, kicking through the heels. Continue to breath.
- The hands can be placed on the floor by the hips.
- The hands can remain behind the hamstrings at all times until the arms can float parallel to the ground.
- Keep the knees bent.
- If it is really painful on your tailbone, as it is on mine, try folding a towel a few times and sitting on it when performing Navasana.
- Even though this pose is very challenging to the abdominals to the point where you could be shaking, try to smile through it. Smiling really helps get people through difficult postures.
- This posture strengthens the abdominals, the hip flexors, and muscles along the spine.
- Navasana improves digestion and helps to relieve stress.
- This posture also stimulates the kidneys, the thyroid gland, and the intestines.
Hard Work Reaps Great Rewards
Remember, strong abdominals make for a healthy spine, good posture, and healthy internal organs. Even though this posture is difficult and can be uncomfortable, all of your hard work will bring great rewards.
With discomfort can come great benefit to our minds, our bodies and our lives. It is ok to be a little uncomfortable, a little off-balance, or off-kilter, as long as we stay aware of what we are experiencing.
When the great religions of the world said something to the effect of “ask and ye shall receive”, they never promised the receiving part would come easy. 🙂