The Practice of Discomfort

Posted by Laila Kirkpatrick on

"There is a common misunderstanding among human beings who have ever been born on earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable. You see this even in insects and animals and birds. All of us are the same. A much more interesting, kind and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our curiosity is bitter or sweet. To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full and delightful life than that, we must realise that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is. If we are committed to comfort at any cost, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we’re going to run; we’ll never know what’s beyond that particular barrier or wall or fearful thing." Pema Chödrön

Our yoga asana practice can be a place for this, on the safety of our mats, perhaps with the guidance of a teacher, and our own gentle approach. Playing with poses we find difficult, that bring up fear and our own aversion can be the grounds to slowly practice embracing the uncomfortable. Particularly methods like Ashtanga Yoga that don't allow us much wiggle room to play into our own story, can be an opportunity to play with the uncomfortable until it is simply just another experience, without our need to label it good or bad. Just is. A practice in time that permeates into our life, and can feed our steadiness and courage when the going gets tough for real.

Laila x

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