"Always go with the choice that scares you the most because that's the one that is going to require the most from you." - Caroline Myss
There are two things I know for sure upon arriving to Mysore. One, I will practice Ashtanga yoga, and two, I will get a sinus infection. Yup. This is all I know for sure. Not even enlightenment is guaranteed, but blowing snot bubbles during led Intermediate class is. My shining moment. The annoying itch of the uncomfortable while practicing yoga seemed to be the theme of my first week, as it should be. The path of most resistance standing in my way give greater opportunity to dive inward, building mental strength, aligning to what is real, my determined spirit.
Banished to the corner my first three practices became the running joke. Sharath would point at me and then point to the corner space in front of his office offering only a mischievous grin. Not really the most optimal spot with having to practice perpendicular to the rest of the group, along with running traffic from the male practitioners coming and going from their dressing room. In reality, I'm simply grateful to be here.
What I've come away with is, bring on the discomfort. Why should I be too comfortable? What will I learn if I become attached to one spot in the shala? How will I grow? Can I still feel ease and equanimity in the challenge of being forced outside my comfort zone? If every opportunity to practice was the perfect scenario what would I learn? How will I experience what I am really made of? We never really know until we are forced to rise to it. One of my favorite quotes from Caroline Myss, "God never descends to fear, rise first, then God will meet you there."
Back home in Sweden, almost every opportunity to make practice harder came to the forefront over the past year. There were too many to count. I had to learn to move through the practice differently with an awareness that enabled me to feel every single bit of resistance in my body. No, not the most optimal set up, and one that I might have tried to avoid at all costs, but one that brought with it a new sense of strength that I was amazed to discover. The adaptability, in essence, gave more than it took, all I had to do was step through the fire, or in this case the cold. I found new meaning to the word tapas I might not have found otherwise.
On the other end of the scope, I am not saying we need to look for ways to suffer. No, that is never necessary, however when handed lessons of stepping into the uncomfortable, coming face to face with our vulnerability, what I have learned is it's not about powering up, but maybe it's about softening around.
"Like water, be like water," as Bruce Lee used to say.