comfortable with the uncomfortable

i take a yin yoga class 2-4 times a week. if you are not familiar with yin yoga it is a slow-paced style of yoga with poses, or asanas, that are held for longer periods of time. for beginners this may range from 45 seconds to two minutes with more advanced practitioners holding poses for 5 minutes or more.

last thursday we held a pose for eight minutes.

EIGHT minutes.

eight minutes in paschimottanasana.

what is paschimottanasana you might ask? (and how do you pronounce it?!)

paschimottanasana (POSH-ee-moh-tan-AHS-anna) is a seated forward fold and can be used to help your distracted mind (and your hamstrings) unwind.

the benefits of paschimottanasana are as follows:

  • calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings
  • stimulates the liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus
  • improves digestion
  • helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort
  • soothes headache and anxiety and reduces fatigue
  • therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, and sinusitis
  • traditional texts say that Paschimottanasana increases appetite, reduces obesity, and cures diseases

our instructor said the hardest part of staying in the pose would be staying in the pose for EIGHT minutes because you start to feel uncomfortable about the TIME you are spending in the pose.

he said that by being focused on our breath, our body would relax, and our mind would follow allowing us to become comfortable with the uncomfortable task of holding the pose for eight minutes.

to tell you the truth, i would have liked to hold it even longer.

and, to be completely honest, i look nothing like the image above when i am in paschimottanasana.

in yin yoga we use all kinds of straps and props to support our poses so we can hold them for long periods of time. i probably had my head resting on blocks or a bolster, and maybe even a strap around my feet. my head was nowhere near my knees and my hands were not wrapped around my feet.

someday, maybe. someday.

i have really come to love my mornings with yin yoga and can really tell a difference when i have missed a class. it’s not necessarily that i become out of shape, or stiff, but i find myself becoming un-comfortable with the uncomfortable.

i don’t always want to be comfortable with the uncomfortable because there are some uncomfortable situations you should be uncomfortable with. however, i sure like being able to deal with uncomfortable situations with a clear mind and that is what yoga helps me do.

are you a yogi? if so, what style of yoga is your favorite and why?

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