As we shift more deeply into our practice, our work on the mat and off the mat spill more freely into one another and we are called upon to examine our relationship to pain. As one of my beloved teachers Sharyn Galindo says…’Nothing is right for every BODY, but SOME things are right for somebody.’ Our practice on the mat will not progress without some amount of discomfort or even pain. Similarly, our life off the mat will not ever become what we truly desire if we do not take risks, learn to be ok with fear, discomfort and hurt… these things are all a vital part of the human condition. From the greatest places of hurt and challenge, we rise with the most abundant growth.
Pain and discomfort often mean opening, progress and release both physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. If we continually seek to avoid pain in our life and our practice, we will likely never reach our fullest most vibrant happy space of living, nor the most connected place in our practice where mind, body and breath truly align.
For me it’s owning my pain, noticing ‘this hurts’ and ‘I’m uncomfortable.’ Once I’ve admitted this, it somehow has less power. The pure simple act of awareness starts my shift… I take several ujjayi breaths; long, slow, and even as I listen to the sound and BE in this space of discomfort. At times I back off until I can determine whether the pain is growth inducing or truly harmful, and then try going back in. All the while repeating that I have all it takes, I trust myself and the universe, and I surrender to not controlling every little thing. I give in to at times feeling pain. It’s like a tight knotted muscle… excruciating as it’s worked, stretched, massaged, but ultimately there is huge relief and healing. I allow myself to hold the space of hurt with a soft grasp so that it may unravel and evolve as it needs to… along the path cradled with care, kindness, and love.