40 Days of Yoga: Day 4

I love yoga. I find myself looking forward to my practice all day. That being said, there’s a moment in most classes where I think to myself, “why the heck did I think I could do this today?” I’m probably not alone here. Challenging classes can make you want to bolt for the door. In the end, I’m always indescribably grateful for the practice. That moment of doubt, though, is me hitting my comfort zone and not wanting to cross over to the other side.

We are comfortable in our comfort zone. Thus the name. But how much growth can one expect to achieve if they never step outside their comfort zone? Very little. You see, your comfort zone doesn’t challenge you. It doesn’t ask you to look deep inside yourself and see what you’re made of. It says, “You’re good as you are, so why bother trying for more?” While I agree with the first statement, you are good as you are, why NOT try for more? Why not see what you’re made of? 10 times out of 10, you’ll surprise yourself.

Today in class I committed to honestly finding my limit. I know I have a tendency to give in early. I think I’m not strong enough, not experienced enough, or just not worthy. But with a dedicated practice (and quite a lot of encouragement from my Instructor – thanks, Pete), I’m starting to understand that I have quite a lot of untapped power. So today, I decided to find it.

The most amazing thing about approaching my limit, asking if I could go a little further, and then vowing to stay at my edge until the end of the pose, was discovering how much strength I had. I don’t mean how much muscle I had, I mean how much courage I had. It’s no easy task to look at your limit and say, “Hi. Can I join you in this incredibly uncomfortable and scary moment?”

It’s time to get friendly.

I said 10 times out of 10 you’ll surprise yourself if you ask yourself to try harder. That’s because there’s always a little more left to give. You just have to be brave enough to give it. Your limit is unknown to you, and we’re afraid of the unknown. But we are much stronger than we give ourselves credit for. And the moment you find out that you had more in you than you thought you did, ta da! Growth. The next time you approach that limit, you’ll be confident you can succeed where you did the last time. And then you ask yourself to try even a little harder. And then you triumph again. More growth! This is how we transform ourselves in the the people we want to be.

Right now this probably sounds a lot like how to go further in yoga. I’m not just talking about yoga, though. How about patience? How about the times when you think you’ve hit the end of your patience? Can you challenge yourself to go a little deeper and find just a few more seconds of patience? Can you offer just a little more composure? I’ll bet you can. And good for you. I’ll bet you didn’t know you could do it, and you just proved that you could. It feels great. And the next time your patience is tried, you’ll stand taller knowing that you can keep your cool a little bit longer than the time before.

I’m excited to keep stepping out of my comfort zone. I’m excited to find out just how much further I can go, in my poses, in my patience, in my life. I fully expect to still have moments where I’m sure it was a bad idea to do some more vinyasa, but in the end, I know I will come out stronger, more confident, and more grateful to myself for honestly pushing my limits.