When many people think of yoga words like peace, bliss, and relaxation might cross their mind. People don’t often think of sweat, worn out muscles, or discomfort as parts of a yoga practice. However, some yoga classes are tough as H***. In these tough classes the word pain might even come to mind; however there is a difference between discomfort and pain.
More athletic yoga practices are tough because you stretch your muscles in ways you aren’t use to. As your muscles start to release you move onto new muscles that you definitely aren’t use to working. No matter what your experience level, as you deepen your yoga practice you push the limits of what your body is used to. As this happens you might hear a little voice in your head that tells you to stop (click here to read my blog post about ego). This voice wants you to think your discomfort is pain.
Here’s an example, when you expand a rubber band it always wants to snap back into its resting state. Your muscles are the same way. Now, take a strongman competitor and think about how big their muscles are. They spent years lifting heavy weights and continually contracting their muscles. If they were to take a yoga class, it would take a lot of effort for them to expand their muscles. Their muscles are used to be in a state of contraction, and want to snap back into their normal state. The act of expansion is pushing against their norm for their body so they will feel discomfort.
Don’t get me wrong it is possible to feel pain in yoga and that is bad! You will need to listen to your body and determine if what you are feeling is discomfort or pain. The idea of discomfort on the physical plane is the when your body is pushed out of its resting state. The idea of yoga is self discovery of how your body works and moves. As you move through your yoga journey you need to be able know the difference between pain and discomfort. Examples of pain could be the feeling of throbbing or pinching which could be commonly caused by bone on bone action. Pain is how your body tells you something is wrong. This could mean that you are doing a posture wrong, you pushed yourself too far in a posture, or you are not ready for a posture.
As you pay attention to what your body is telling you then you can start to understand what the difference is between pain and discomfort. Remember to breathe through discomfort and think about fairy dust and butt farts. This will help you grow in your practice.
Do you have a particular posture where you feel discomfort vs. pain?
If you liked this post check out Why Yoga?