I started yoga again for the first time in months. I’m six months pregnant, and I’ve had a baby bump for quite some time, so I had to stop my regular class because I couldn’t do the positions anymore. Then I found a studio that does prenatal yoga, and I decided to try it out. And going back taught me more than what I had bargained for.
To begin, new things aren’t easy for me. The discomfort of adjustment is difficult. I feel vulnerable. Exposed. So when my yoga instructor opened the class with a sharing circle, I immediately felt overwhelmed. And I was instantly faced with my discomfort.
The hour-long yoga class continued to challenge me. I was hot. Angry. Every pose created a new discomfort in my body. I was thirsty but had left my water in the car. Everything was uncomfortable.
I wanted to go get my water from the car. Go to the bathroom. Leave. Do anything to get me out of the discomfort I was feeling. But I stayed. And as I listened to the instructor discuss the discomfort faced during childbirth, I got it: I was supposed to be feeling uncomfortable. It was preparing me for the lengthy discomfort I’ll face during childbirth. And teaching me to breathe through it.
As a trauma survivor, that’s something I’ve had to face before. And I found myself during yoga having to face it again. And I’ll face it the most intensely during childbirth. When I’ll have to trust my body, breathe and lean into my discomfort.
So if you are like me and you find discomfort at times unbearable, here are some tips for leaning into it:
- Breathe through it. Sometimes it’s all you can do and every time it’s what you have to do. Breathe in the word “let” and breathe out the word “go” and try not to focus on what is troubling you.
- Move through it. During my trauma recovery, I’ve learned how helpful movement is when dealing with discomfort. As our memories stay stored in our body’s tissues, moving helps soothe them. And it rebalances our nervous system.
- Journal after it. There’s nothing like venting after feeling uncomfortable and overwhelmed, and sometimes, the quickest way to vent is to write it out. You can be angry. You can be unruly. And you can get it all out.
- Share with someone you trust. Even if you write it out first, you may wish to share your frustrations with someone you trust, soothing your discomfort. I always vent to my husband. And to my therapist.
- Acknowledge your feelings. Whether you write or share with someone or both, make sure you do something to acknowledge your feelings. For unacknowledged feelings tend to fester. And grow.
- Practice leaning into discomfort. Try new things, practice yoga, put yourself in uncomfortable (yet safe) situations. And embrace all the challenges (and rewards) facing discomfort brings.
However you lean into discomfort, may you find comfort in yourself. And find ways to connect to your inner universe.
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Photo by Lucas Pezeta