You can do yoga for years without pushing yourself, like I did, and not really gain any flexibility. I always backed off at any discomfort. I took full advantage when instructors would reassure us that we could always just rest in child pose. (Child pose wan’t even really restful for me, since it was too much of a stretch.)
Or, you could embrace the discomfort in the knowledge that it is a sign of your progress. It’s a simple mind shift. I want to go deep enough into a forward bend until I feel the discomfort that tells me that I am making progress.
This attitude can be applied to the discomfort you feel when you resist an OCD ritual. I really, really want to go back and touch that object, change my pace to avoid walking on a sidewalk crack, or re-read the words on the last page …
Ahhh … embrace that discomfort. It means you are making progress.
The same is true for any craving. I may desperately want a late night snack that the executive department of my brain knows is unhealthy. I’m not even hungry, but, as the minutes go by, the craving gets stronger. I become desperate for a sugary treat. I can fall down that hole, giving into the urge and punish my body with the snack. Or, I can do a mind shift. Feel that craving sensation. I feel it because I am not giving into it. Breath deeply, just as you would into the discomfort of a yoga pose. The discomfort will pass and you will grow stronger and healthier.
Reframing discomfort in this way yields immediate, visible results. My forward bend used to be almost indistinguishable from my mountain pose. With this new attitude, it’s common in yoga practice for me to reach new heights. And interrupting habits and obsessive compulsive behavior likewise lets you stretch to new heights of health and wellbeing.
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