Yoga is one of my favorite physical activities but that was not always the case.
When I first started practicing yoga, I hated it. It was painful and hard and I was awful at it. The entire process was an exercise in stretching for me and not strictly in the physical sense. Every new pose highlighted my weakness and my lack of flexibility, comfort, and balance. And many times, if I’m completely honest, it just flat-out hurt.
My first uttanasana found me barely able to touch my knees, let alone the floor in front of me. Warrior, child’s pose, swooping crane, tree, cobra, downward dog, and planks were all seemingly impossible for me.
My muscles burned as though on fire, leaving me exhausted, frustrated and emotionally discouraged. Each session would leave me struggling for hours afterward. Yet, my coach would gently, but firmly, remind me that it would only get easier if I committed to pressing on through my pain.
Eventually, the pain turned to minor discomfort and eventually into a state of calm and satisfaction. It isn’t that I adopted a twisted mentality about the process; rather, I set my mind on the end goal and found that the more I faced the challenge head-on, the easier the challenge became. Now, I find myself in a state of peace and enjoyment as I touch the floor in front of me, palms down.
The stretch feels like growth and improvement.
Such is our walk with God. We are called out of our comfortable places where no stretch is required of us. We are led into places and circumstances that require us to develop unused spiritual muscles and to set our minds on the goal and not our warmth and complacency.
As believers, it is difficult to genuinely inspire others to head into places of deep faith and understanding unless we know the way ourselves. It takes some work, a little discomfort and quite a bit of faith. If we give up before we experience real progress and growth, we will never move forward in our spiritual walk. We will remain, always afraid of pain, always focused on the discomfort and we will miss the joy that comes from pushing through to the blessing.
So, stretch it out. Lean into the pain and set your mind on everything that is yet to come.