How to Balance Courage and Comfort

The yoga mat is the ultimate playground to experiment with the balance between strength and flexibility. In order to get to a class you waver with this balance. It takes willpower to just show up. Then you are there and you look around the classroom, and you need to practice flexibility in choosing where you will lay out your mat. You may need to set up closer to your neighbor then you’d like or you may not have that spot by the wall that you love—practice of flexibility. And then in every posture, it takes strength and will to get into your most beautiful version of the pose. You aren’t working to get it to a perfect pose because the longer you practice yoga the more you learn that there is always room for improvement. So as you are practicing that balance between moving into the edges of your pose while very intuitively listening to your body to avoid injury, you get to your place of strength—and then I would encourage you to release and ease into the pose, and you might be surprised by how much your body gets closer to its most beautiful version when you do so.

This is the same in life. It takes strength and willpower to walk out that door every day. Take a moment to acknowledge that. But you can’t be all strength and no flexibility. We live in this great big beautiful world alongside a bunch of other humans with their own strengths shining brightly. In order to not have a bumper car style life, bumping and bombarding into every person we come in contact with, we need to learn flexibility. Flexibility also comes in the form of compromise, teamwork, and overall kindness and consideration. This is the yin and yang of life.

So as you approach your mat today, take a moment to reflect on this philosophy and try this out. Take one posture—maybe warrior 2, and as you lead your body into the alignment of the pose, listen and see where you can push more (strength), say into the bend in your legs or the energy flowing from your hands, and then take the opposite energy (flexibility), and see if you can release your thoughts, any tension in your jaw, and your shoulders down your back.

As you approach your life today, take a moment to reflect on this philosophy and try this out. Go through your to-do list and pick one thing, perhaps picking your child up from school and think about how you can do it with more purpose. Perhaps you show up 5 minutes early (strength) and put your phone away and give your child the most heart warming smile and listen to what your child is telling you (from his/her body language to their words) and connect (flexibility), and see how that moment became more than a chore. Our lives can be full of chores or it can be full of these purposeful moments—balancing will and flexibility—courage and comfort.

The smaller you tune in, the easier this experiment is to see. So try small—one moment at a time.

This blog post was originally posted on the Heart Center Collective, which is a business I am a co-founder on with Jhoanna Rae of YINtuitive Yoga.