Embrace Discomfort, Discover Joy

Written by Cindy Leavitt

Person performing yoga in front of a sunset

It took my best friend almost two years to convince me to try yoga. My standard response when she would suggest it was that I wasn’t flexible, so I couldn’t do yoga. She would not so gently remind me that the entire reason I should do yoga was to increase my flexibility. Her persistence and my stiff neck eventually prevailed, and I signed up for a beginner Iyengar Yoga class. That was almost 15 years ago.

One of the things that I love about Iyengar Yoga is its emphasis on proper technique and the extensive use of props to ensure that you safely support your body as you try the different postures. Taking that beginner class was foundational to giving me the knowledge, skill, and confidence to shape my practice in ways that work for me.

I have done in-person classes, online classes, yoga apps, and personal practice. Yoga is now one of my most valued tools for being the person and leader I aspire to be. The following mantras that I have learned and practiced doing yoga help me every day when I am working.

  • Your breath is the primary tool to release tension.
  • Practice being uncomfortable and managing yourself when things are really hard.
  • Focus on your own experience, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else in the room.

I went on an educator trip to China a few summers ago with several other faculty and colleagues from Temple. One of the faculty members who was traveling with us was a yoga instructor, and he generously offered to lead us in yoga each morning. One of my favorite memories of that trip is doing yoga in the hotel hallway at 6 am with my friends.

While I initially resisted trying yoga, it now brings me joy daily. 

What are you resisting? What could happen if you stopped resisting and stepped into the discomfort of trying something new?