The other day, I rushed to put my pants on so I could make it to my yoga class. I didn’t notice that my pants were backwards until I got to class and started practicing. First, I felt uncomfortable as I started to move. Extra material climbed higher on my stomach while a little less material covered my backside. I fidgeted, pulling my shirt lower to cover my exposed back. And then I felt self-conscious and embarrassed. But instead of fixing it, I chose to hold onto my discomfort.
Why on earth would I choose to feel uncomfortable, risk being noticed and ridiculed, or be ashamed?
My teacher encouraged us to practice yoga mindfully. She led us through each piece of each pose s-l-o-w-l-y. She asked us to notice the position of our hands, fingers, feet and toes on our mats. Did we feel heavy on one side and light on the other? If we closed our eyes did we see color, light, or shadows?
In the beginning, I tried to notice my body, but my pants kept getting in the way. I wanted to go into the bathroom and turn them around. I waited a few minutes, and the intense desire to fix my problem subsided. So, I decided to let go of the idea of changing and hold onto my discomfort for awhile.
Nobody likes to suffer or feel uncomfortable. It’s unpleasant. But sometimes the act of holding our discomfort, boredom, or raw emotion helps us see life in a new way. Eventually we can heal ourselves or forgive someone who has hurt us because we’ve spent time with our feelings.
There’s an old saying: “We all put our pants on the same way.” It means that we are all equal and we need to respect each other because respect is rooted in equality. As I looked around the room, I realized we all looked different, but we chose to practice yoga, on this day, at this time, with this teacher. We were equals.
After class, I texted my friend Karen and told her that my pants were backwards during yoga. She texted back: she never noticed my pants.
I learned something valuable: Although I felt uncomfortable, there’s no shame in wearing my pants backwards for an hour or more. Nobody noticed. Wearing my pants backwards didn’t prevent me from practicing yoga, and may have deepened my experience.
So go ahead and put your pants on backwards. Hold your discomfort for a bit.
What did you learn?
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