I have a love-hate relationship with early morning yoga classes. Leaving the cozy comfort of bed seems offensive at 5:15 a.m. as I stumble to the closet to throw on workout clothes. Even when I start driving to the studio, part of me wants to turn back, go home, climb back into the covers.
On my mat, my body revolts: aches and pains and stiff creaky limbs. My mind follows suit with the desire to lay still, be mentally anywhere but here. I lament the loss of ease.
But I also know that every invitation to move is a small shift toward openness. I have to do the work to reap the benefits. I resist and resent each downward-facing dog, each high plank, each warrior pose until a piece of me relents. Oh, I think, the backs of my legs don't feel like tight rubber bands like they did five minutes ago. I think, mmmm, yes, one more round of Sun A would be very nice, I'll give it a go.
Each refusal falls away, and another, and again and again, until I'm 2/3 through class finally waking up, finally feeling everything and wanting more of it, unlike the first five minutes where I wanted to run away, away, away.
We get to savasana, and a sense of familiarity locks into place: this is how it goes. This is the cycle of unfolding, of creating, of connecting, of trying.
I've been practicing yoga for seven years now, and all I know for sure is this dance of ow-oh, wait-go, close-open, slow-start happens every single time I go to my mat. I expect it, and knowing the back and forth will happen doesn't make the yoga any easier. As a human, I constantly seek comfort, and while yoga has certainly brought me all sorts of beautiful solaces, that's not actually the point of a practice.
That's not the point of a life, either.
Writing. Motherhood. Partnership. Love. Friendship. Service. Exercise. Ambition. Meditation. Forgiveness. Justice. Release. Healing.
Most elements of our lives are not easy. We resist until we realize there's a return on receiving this gift of discomfort, of challenge. We are asked to believe an opposite side of the coin exists, to stay for the flip, to trust we can withstand both yin and yang and to remember that we need to understand how resistance feels so we can rise above it.