I tried Hot Yoga once upon a time. It was HOT and oh boy was it uncomfortable. Take a 33 degree room, add 60 sweaty bodies, and I may as well have been lying on the sun itself. My yoga mat resembled a Slip n’ Slide and I was envious of my neighbour’s very practical non-slip towel with those little rubber bumps on the bottom, like babies have on their socks when learning to walk.
Nothing had quite prepared me for this feeling and it made me realise; I had forgotten how to be uncomfortable.
It’s natural for us humans to seek comfort. We like to be warm, well fed, surrounded by family and all those comforting things. But it’s the moments we feel uncomfortable that give meaning to our lives. So, if you’re serious about creating change, it’s about time you get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Hot Yoga helped me understand this. Pushing through the discomfort of a challenging pose is as much a part of the yoga practice as the dreamy music, the deep breathing and even the sleepy bit at the end. When a pose becomes uncomfortable, that’s when it really begins. The moment, with limbs twisted and tangled over each other, when you’re thinking…
‘Seriously, what have I gotten myself into?’
‘Focus on my breathing, are you crazy?!’
‘How am I capable of sweating THIS much?’
Since that first class, the Hot Yoga room now welcomes me around four times a week and I’ve spent many years both practicing and teaching yoga. From the uncomfortable moments lying on my sweaty yoga mat, to dealing with the uncomfortable challenges life throws my way, I’ve embraced discomfort as an opportunity to grow, learn and think.
Like many things in life, yoga is a practice, not a perfect. We have to practice being uncomfortable and acknowledge how it feels so we can overcome it. The only way to do this is to take risks, try new things and frighten the pants off yourself once in a while.
What has yoga taught you about life?