Ending our own suffering?

If you come to one of my yoga classes you might hear me say “you don’t really know what comfortable is, until you’ve been uncomfortable”. This is something I picked up in my teacher training. This concept was something that rang true for me after a few weeks into the training. We had been learning, sitting, meditating, sitting, practicing yoga postures, sitting, discussing, oh and did I mention sitting for several hours each day. It wasn’t until a few weeks in, did Mona decide to discuss “finding our comfortable seat”. As soon as she mentioned it would be part of our practice that day to actually do this, I immediately had a huge sigh, and thought, oh, thank the lord, it’s about time, I’ve been trying to get comfortable, but is it just me, or is all this sitting stuff really hard?


I actually audibly sighed and said “Thank god, ‘cause I’m really struggling to stay comfortable”. To which Mona smiled, laughed and said, “I can understand that”.

The entire room at that point, I knew was feeling the same way I was. We were all trying out best to be good yoga teachers in training, but we were all struggling to stay comfortable and now the elephant in the room was out there and everyone could relax. Phew it wasn’t just me! A few people nodded in agreement, everyone smiled and on we went with our discussion and hands on learning of how to make our own seat comfortable.

We spent much of the afternoon helping each other, learning from one another, discussing and ultimately enjoying sighs of relief when we found the way we needed to embrace the support, what posture we wanted and how we “bring the floor to meet you comfortably” as Mona says.

At the end of the lecture, practice and ultimate community & support building process of just learning how to sit comfortably, it hit me like a ton of bricks.... Again, I blurt out, “oh I get it you wanted us to understand what being uncomfortable is, so that we can appreciate when we find comfort. That’s ingenious. A little bit sadistic maybe, but I love you Mo”. To which Mona smiled, belly laughed, said “AWEsome, Yes! I love you too!”.


I’ve been teaching yoga now for about 8 years. My practice was forever changed by my teacher training (in SO many ways), which up to that point had been almost exclusively self lead (for many reasons and for many, many years). I’ve never stopped learning and hope I continue to learn for the rest of my life.

Along the path as I work with all sorts of diverse students, I embrace the learning that happens within them and from them. Recently it dawned on me that some folks seem stuck in their own struggles. They’ve been uncomfortable for so long, that they believe this is the way things are “supposed to be” or they’ve resolved to just be in discomfort, because it’s just the way it is. The saying “it is what is it”, I do believe in; however, with practice, I also believe that being open to and embracing change in both body and mind is a vital piece to each person’s wellness endeavors which means that even though something might be a discomfort, challenge, weakness or road block, this doesn’t mean that we can’t work through it.


Instead of going around something to avoid it, can we find our inner light, strength, fortitude to travel through this challenge? Can we embrace the supports that exists around, whether they be props in our practice, people around us like a yoga teacher, a fellow student or outside of our practice, our community, loved ones, mother nature?


Can we find space in our minds to hold strong, steady ourselves, root into the earth, stretch out our arms to embrace mother nature, the sunshine, rain, whatever life throws at us and breath deeply. Can you begin to let go of your discomfort whether it be in our mind, our body or elsewhere, not by going around it, avoiding it or “leaving it unattended behind”, but by travelling with it, through it and beyond it. Embrace the journey of yoga, the good, the bad and everything in between. Just notice, breath and just watch what happens!

And, maybe find a willing yoga teacher to assist you with your discomfort….wink wink!

In health & happiness,

Jo-Anne

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