Retro Throwback: The Benefits of Being Uncomfortable

On Sundays, please enjoy the Retro Throwback where I share my favorite posts from some time ago.

Last night I was fortunate to have dinner with a great group of former students who had gone through the masters program at my university. I learned many things last night. For example, you can get good vegetarian food at the Cheesecake Factory (who knew they had an amazing roasted pear, blue cheese, pecan, and arugula flatbread?). I also learned what people had been up to over the summer. This led me to learn that one woman in our group had spent the summer doing things that made her uncomfortable.

As I understand it, the idea was to push herself to do things that she knew would be good for her in some way but that she didn’t want to do for any number of reasons (fear, didn’t like like the task, and so on).  Some of the things she did involved going to a cycling class, doing some home improvement projects, and cleaning. See? Not hard on the surface. She didn’t sign up for a 50 mile run or anything. She picked out things that made her uncomfortable and those things were based on where she was in her life.

I asked her what she had learned from the experience, and it sounds like a lot. First, she learned she could do things she didn’t want to or thought she couldn’t do. She also learned that she felt better about herself when she did the things on her list. She wasn’t always succesful, and sometimes things didn’t turn out how she wanted, but she seems to be sticking with it.

So – when was the last time you did something that made you uncomfortable on purpose?

I’m trying to answer this question myself, and I’m not sure that I can. I don’t think I can count my 66-day challenge because I wanted to do it and in no way did I feel uncomfortable in doing it. Yes, I had classes that were not fun, but it’s not the same thing. I have to ask, when was the last time I really pushed myself to an uncomfortable spot? I don’t know. I need to find one.

If putting yourself in an uncomfortable position on purpose sounds scary, that’s because it has the potential to be just that. However, in the book I’m currntly reading (Ruling Your World), there’s a great statement that everything we need can be found in the present moment. I take this to mean that if we just keep ourselves present, and focus our minds on the present, everything will be as it should. Also, we are likely to remain more calm and focused.

As usualy, I am headed off to yoga in a moment. What can I do today to make myself uncomfortable in my practice? Now that I think about it, I’ve done this before. It wasn’t so much doing a lot of days in a row where I found my uncomfortablness, it was what I did in those days. Like the time I started moving my mat around the room. Putting your mat in a new spot (if you are a person who gets attached to spots) can make you uncomfortable. Setting up in the front row can make me uncomfortable. And I grew from doing those things. I learned about myself and my practice. I think today I will pay attention to where I hit an uncomfortable spot in class and see if I can work through it.

Of course, the other challenge is to take the idea of being uncomfortable off the mat and into other aspects of my life. As long as I remember that I have what I need in the moment, I should be fine.

What are you going to do?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Jan 21, 2015 @ 01:56:52

    Retro Throwback: The Benefits of Being Uncomfortable #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag


  2. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Mar 02, 2015 @ 06:48:55

    Retro Throwback: The Benefits of Being Uncomfortable #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag


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