So Far from the Comfort Zone

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Anyone who knows me knows I am not particularly graceful; I have a tendency to walk into furniture (and fire hydrants — those really hurt), lose absolutely everything, and break a fair number of glasses. Needless to say the ballet barre is not my natural habitat. However, due to circumstances of life-at-a-yoga/barre-studio I found myself in not one, but two barre trainings this past month. Going from a handful of barre classes to the prospect of teaching was quite the leap (or should I say grand jeté?) , and it had me more than a little uncomfortable.

I was nervous not just about cramming a huge amount of knowledge into a short timeframe and tight schedule, or for my poor, poor quads, but for myself and what it would feel like to be so very far outside my comfort zone. Yoga is my happy place, whether I’m all alone on my mat or in front of a class; it’s a place where I can be entirely comfortable in myself. So, for someone who can barely order coffee in French and managed spill a full water bottle on a student twice in a single yoga class there, there was less comfort to be found in this new-to-me world.

But even as I was mentally psyching myself up for pliés and relevés, I couldn’t help but hear my own words echoing in my head:get comfortable with what’s uncomfortable”. I’ve heard myself and other teachers say it countless times in an attempt to convince students that hanging out in pigeon pose for another minute isn’t the worst thing in the world. And despite the cliché, there is real truth in it, because finding that line where comfort zone meets the great unknown can be incredibly interesting and expanding; it’s where growth happens.

I love routine and my safe little mat space, but leaving the comfort of the norm opens up a world of possibilities. It’s how I feel when I travel and discover myself away from the comforts of home, yet still somehow find ease and belonging and truer version of myself outside of of the confines of my world as I normally know it to be. It’s liberating and interesting and at times a little scary, but it’s always worthwhile, because it allows me to see myself more clearly.

At the end of the day, and at the end of the month, it really wasn’t that bad. Looking back I learned an incredible amount (there’s really something to be said for always being a student) and I got to feel strong and shaky and silly and even a little graceful all at once, and my quads survived! Looking forward I’m feeling inspired to ask my students to take little trip outside of their comfort zone and revel in the uncomfortable newness.

Speaking of new, here’s a fun, little dinner idea to mix up your mid-week meals: Teriyaki Shiitake Hand Rolls. They’re all those sushi bar(re) favorites you know and love without any of the fuss.

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