yoga is physically and mentally challenging. there are times where i am in practice, thinking “*insert explicit word, this is hard”.
yoga continues to teach me so many lessons, but the one i want to focus on is when to give up.
yoga has taught me when to give up or when to keep going by presenting me with a lot of opportunities to either push myself or to rest. when i first started doing yoga, the whole class was me pushing myself to remember the poses and how to do them. as i got more comfortable, it was pushing myself to rest and let myself take in the healing energy from the practice. right now, i think i’m at the place to push myself even when i want to give up.
yoga focuses on the difference between pain and discomfort. these are often used as the same word, but they’re very different. pain is not beneficial, it hurts you and could lead to injury and prolonged suffering. when something is painful, you must learn to let it go immediately and do something that’s restorative (like a restorative pose, my favorite is child’s pose). when you stretch yourself too far, there are no benefits because you’ve hurt yourself. discomfort on the other hand presents a challenge. maybe it’s a pose you don’t think you can do. and maybe you still are feeling uneasy about the pose, but you try it. discomfort may bring satisification because you tried something new. whether you “did it right” or not, you tried and that’s something to be proud of.
examples of pain vs. discomfort are present all the time in my practice. i often have wrist pain (i’m working on better distrupting the weight in my hands and working through emotional stuff). when my wrists hurt, i do variations of the pose. i’ve even had instructors give me extra props or offer other variations for me. but if my wrists hurt when i’m in a posture, i stop because that’s painful and i know it will not help my wrists heal faster. doing wrist strengthening exercises though does cause discomfort. but this is temporary and i know i should push through it because my wrists will feel better.
this is a lesson i am currently working on in my life. when do i let go? when do i ask for more support? when do i strengthen myself? is something really harmful or is it just uncomfortable? what are the benefits of me doing this? what are the possible effects?
these questions and many more are some of the ones i use when i’m pondering on what to do next. it can be hard to make decisions. but the most important thing (to me at least) is to take time and think about what you’re doing and why. it helps things make more sense in the long run.