This morning I was doing yoga again. My neck and shoulders had so many knots that I could barely turn my head. Has this ever happened to you?
It’s not a pleasant way to start the day. Fortunately, the next lesson up on my DVD was the exercise that works the upper back and shoulders. So I knew that if I could push through the discomfort, some relief would follow.
This is a newish realization.
I used to avoid the lesson that I did today (and the one after it). Both of them make me physically uncomfortable. My muscles shake under the strain of the stretches and I have to struggle for each improvement.
It’s kind of ridiculous, but it used to make me feel demoralized. I had no patience for the limitations of my body.
Then one day, in spite of myself, I relaxed my mind enough to just concentrate on the stretch. And as my muscles started to shake I diverted my attention. Instead of silently berating myself for my physical weakness, I reminded myself of an instructor’s words: quivering muscles indicate dissolving tension and increasing strength.
Two things which still sound good to me.
…and that reminder…that change of perspective allowed me to embrace the shudder that I previously considered a shortcoming. When the 20 minutes ended and I had overcome the anxiety of the strain, I was left with a new sense of flexibility and movement in my shoulders. It was enlightening.
And still is.
It opened my eyes to the thought that discomfort sometimes masks an opportunity for growth.