You know, everyone faces struggle during the course of their lives. Small struggles, middle-sized struggles, and big ones, too. Everyone struggles. This is the 3rd remembrance of the 4 Great Remembrances of the Buddhist Tradition. We struggle with indecision...which apple to buy – the red one, the yellow one, the Delicious, the Granny Smith, and so one. Small struggle. Mid-size struggle – what to wear today?! Well, the men probably would not agree that this is a middle of the road struggle, but nonetheless It is estimated that women spend a whole year of their lives struggling with ‘what will I wear today?’
But the big struggles are the ones that we fear. The ones that take our breath away – literally. The ones where we freak out. Completely. So, be reminded that during our hatha yoga practice, we are training the mind. To stay focused on the goal at hand....meaning....during times of being uncomfortable, we are training our minds to stay with the goal of just getting through THIS struggle of being uncomfortable. That is not to say that pain should be a part of yoga. It is never a part of yoga. But, intensity definitely is. Deliberately inviting the body to be in a place of intensity so that we can practice training the mind....staying with the breath...embracing the moment that you are in.....and focusing on the intensity - the feeling - and on the goal of getting through to the other side.
You might be interested to know that one exercise in the US Navy SEAL training is "surf torture." You link arms with your classmates and stand, sit, or lie in the frigid Pacific Ocean until your body reaches the early stages of hypothermia. During the initial phases of training, you do this daily. Then you cover yourself from head to toe in sand and stay that way for the rest of the day. You might follow this with running the obstacle course, weapons training, or classroom time, but you are expected to push the discomfort aside and stay focused on the task at hand.
Now, this is taking things to the extreme, for sure. Nonetheless, during our physical hatha yoga practice there are times when we are certain that we cannot last for one more second, and then we do!
There likely have been many times in your lives when you have been in the middle of a muddle.
Many times in very uncomfortable situations. Discomfort comes in many forms. But the more you embrace discomfort as a reality, the wider your comfort zone becomes. When our comfort zones become wide – become HUGE, we grow. And not just physically. Our minds grow exponentially, and are able to settle and to STAY.