Week 50 – Getting Comfortable In the Uncomfortable
I have been a Bikram Yoga student for 3 years. For those of you who aren’t sure what that is, Bikram yoga consists of 26 yoga poses, carried out for 2 sets about 20-30 seconds each posture over a period of 90 minutes in a room heated to around 105 degrees (or hotter at times). It has been THE most challenging thing I have ever consistently done and made a practiced way of living. Especially if you know me and the fact that I DON’T LIKE BEING HOT! Lying on a beach under the sun has a certain appeal, but I’m one of those people who can only fall asleep with the air conditioning on a cold setting or with the ceiling fan on even in the winter. So needless to say, any type of hot yoga is contradictory to what’s reasonable and sensible to me.
Yoga itself can be challenging enough. There is the breath control, the stillness, the quietening of the mind, the flexibility and balance, all of which are contrary to our ordinary, everyday lives, and require discipline and patience. Bikram yoga however, takes it a little bit further, in that it adds the heat factor. Now, imagine being in a room this hot with anywhere from 10-20 other people in the room and there’s someone commanding you to bend over backwards and touch the floor, put your hands under your heels, but don’t bend your legs, stand on one leg while simultaneously kicking the other leg out in front of you and place your head on your knee. Oh by the way, don’t forget to breathe slowly in/out through your nose only. Oh and by the way, we know it’s hot in here, but keep going. You’re thinking, this is caaaraaazy! But the funny thing is the more you practice the more you find yourself getting comfortable in the uncomfortable.
And here’s where the lesson comes in and the carries over into my everyday life. See, what I have found to be true, is that I can find joy in what appears to be an uncomfortable situation. I learned that I can find peace and serenity in a very uncomfortable circumstance. I can find happiness and contentment in what’s perceivably the most unbearable event. I am learning to live unconditionally! Not allowing conditions to dictate my happiness agenda. Not allowing what’s happening in my outside world to negatively affect my inside world. Living unconditionally- caring more about my inner well-being than what’s going on around me. It means staying centered and grounded when everything close to you is saying “respond to me, and respond to me now”.
This Bikram yoga practice has taught me that it’s not really about the temperature in the room or the discomfort at the bottom of my right leg. It’s not about the backed up traffic or the rude person I encountered at the store, OR even the life changing news that came to me today. But what it is about is, finding a way to get comfortable in the uncomfortable. Finding a way to separate the present condition from the way I feel even if the present condition is significantly impacting the way I feel. Oh it is truly an ‘exercise’ for living!
Getting comfortable in the uncomfortable doesn’t mean putting up with or tolerating that which you don’t want. And it’s not compromise or sacrifice. It’s not learning to like something or living with something you really don’t like. That would be offering resistance. It means using the power of your thoughts to allow the path of least resistance from where you currently stand towards where you want to be (even if where I want to be sometimes is out of the hot ass room). It means coming into understanding that circumstances don’t really mean diddly-squat! They are just that, usually short periods of time of something occurring, which is something else about yoga that I use in my everyday life. The postures are generally 20-30 seconds, which means in my mind no matter how uncomfortable I am, it soon will be over. As it is in life, granted I sometimes don’t have the luxury of knowing the time frame of the circumstance and when something I’m experiencing will come to an end as in Bikram. But I know that it will be over at some point and until that point comes I will use the power of my thoughts to change and alter the vibration of the circumstance, thus making the circumstance null, and powerless over me.
Remember: Circumstances don’t MATTER, only your state of being, MATTERS, state of being materializes your experience, therefore choose the state of being you prefer, and then redefine the circumstance from that state of being. Week 24 – Circumstances Don’t Matter
Challenges can be painful, extremely uncomfortable, taxing on the mind, body AND spirit. But it’s important to remember that they don’t last forever. Every painful situation has an ending! In Bikram, there are certain poses that can be pretty agonizing on the body. During that pose, it feels as though it will never end. Your mind tells you “get out of here and get out now!” Sweat is trickling down your forehead, eyes are burning, muscles are screaming, sometimes sweat flies on to your body from the person next to you; sometimes I just know in any second I’m about to pass out!
But then suddenly, just as I think my body can’t take any more…the pose is over. And guess what? My muscles recover. I feel fine. I survived it. And more than surviving it, I now have a new basis from which I will practice life from- from the “I can do this” basis; from the “nothing is as bad as it seems” basis; from the “all is well” basis. What a wonderful life lesson!
The take away: Conditions are rarely ideal in life. And would you really and truly want that any way? The deal is, stop trying to find the perfect conditions in order to feel the way you want to feel. Use the power of your thoughts to create the conditions you prefer. Use your own God-given power to change the condition to what you want it to be. It never gets much cooler in the yoga room, and it never gets a whole lot easier, but it is me that is getting better and better! Find YOUR comfort in the uncomfortable.