Balancing Pain and Pleasure on the Yoga Mat
There’s this common misconception that yoga is supposed to feel good. And it does. The practice is known to help us heal our injuries, relieve stress, and foster inner peace, but every yogi would be lying if they said yoga feels great all of the time.
To be completely honest, yoga practice trains us how to become equanimous with our pain. That serene and peaceful look you see on our faces comes with years of asana practice and meditation that teaches us how to sit and truly experience our pain. Whether it’s emotional or physical, yoga gives you the tools to face pain and discomfort and accept them rather than running away.
But yoga isn’t a challenge. The practice isn’t designed to make you push harder or work faster. We aren’t trying to generate more experiences of pain. Yoga is here to prepare you to overcome the pains you are currently facing. As you sit on the yoga mat, I invite you to explore these uncomfortable spaces and learn to recognize how your body reacts to negative experiences of pain, sadness, hurt, and discomfort.
I discuss how the asanas are designed to get you in tune with your body. From sun salutations to standing poses to the spiritual closing series, each step is there to guide you closer to inner peace.
The path won’t be easy, and many yoga students get very frustrated at how “hard” the practice can be. But instead of worrying about perfecting the asanas right off the bat, try starting with a meditation practice instead. Meditation is a way to explore discomfort without the risk of injury. You can’t run from pain when you’re in a seated, comfortable position, so if you’re new to yoga, this is an excellent place to start.
Tune in to the Yoga Inspiration podcast now for more helpful tips for new yoga students, including yoga diets and how to practice yoga with an injury.