Mental Health Reflections

Friday Reflections: What Yoga is Teaching Me About Pain and Discomfort

I used to do yoga consistently in my second year of university but nothing as strenuous as the one The Millenial Muslim was doing when I spent the weekend with her. I was already looking to get back into it, hence decided to give the 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene challenge a try. The other backdrop to doing the challenge is that I’ve been having severe back pain on and off throughout the year and if there’s one thing I would recommend as part of a self-care practice it would be yoga.

Two days into the yoga sessions (which are 25 – 30 minutes long), not only am I enjoying it but I could also feel a difference in my posture especially my back. But, as much as I looked forward to doing the sessions they were also extremely painful. A reminder of how out of shape I am.

Cue waking up the third day and I choose not to do it. Not because of lack of time, I was up at 5 am but the sheer thought of the pain I was about to endure led me to give myself a day off. Day 3 skipped. Day 4 same decision. Day 5 skipped. Throughout this, I would tell myself that it was okay to miss it in the morning because I would do it in the evening instead. I was well and fully on the self-deception train. But by the fifth day, my back pain is starting to seep back in and that’s when it struck me.

I stopped doing something that was beneficial for me because of momentary pain and discomfort only to find myself in a bigger one. Quite often we give up things that are good for us in the larger picture because of the temporary pain that we have to go through. And I say ‘temporary’ for a reason because the discomfort that we get from being outside of our comfort zone is not everlasting. It’s likely something that’s periodic. In this case yes, it’s difficult in the early days carrying on with the 30-day challenge, but guess what, eventually I’ll get to a point where it’s easier. My body will be accustomed to the stretches and exercises and I’ll be reaping the benefit one of which is avoiding severe back pain. The ironic thing once I continued to challenge was that the day 3 and day 4 sessions that I missed were 1. The easiest and 2. The one that I needed the most.

In giving up and not even trying, I created an unnecessary setback for myself that didn’t have to be there. So my lessons for you this Friday is;

  1. Don’t give up at the first hurdle
  2. Rest don’t quit
  3. Always remind yourself of the larger vision.

Finally, I’ll leave you with the words of Mattie James and a link to the playlist if you wish to try the challenge:

It’s hard not having what you want but it’s also hard having what you want. You just have to pick your hard. 

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