“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” You’ve probably heard this quote many times before. Maybe it sounds a bit cliché or you think ‘do I really need to do bungee jumping to prove that I am actually living?’ However I understand the true meaning of this quote after I started to practice headstand.
Everybody has its comfort zone. For some it is their jobs, for some it is their relationships, for some it is their hometowns. Because of this comfort zone some people can’t change their jobs, some people are stuck in their bad relationships, some people can’t change even their hairdressers even if they know that they can have a better one. Comfort zone is something that we hold on to, something familiar. It feels good to stay in the comfort zone because it is known and known things can not harm us. It is known and that’s why we can control it. Leaving the comfort zone means stepping into something unknown and it is scary. Remember the moment when you want to dive into cold blue sea. It is hot outside, you want to cool down but the sea is cold so you don’t dive in because you are in your comfort zone. The worst thing with that is if you stay outside longer the sea feels colder and colder. In reality the temperature of the sea didn’t change however you stayed so long outside (in your comfort zone) that it seems impossible to dive into that beautiful sea, even if you know how relaxing it will be to swim there. Here comes the importance of yoga practice. Yoga will show you how to swim in that sea.
One of the most challenging poses in yoga are the inversions. At my first yoga lesson, the instructor has encouraged me to do a headstand. I couldn’t do it. I thought I need to build stronger abdominal muscles. After almost 6 months even if I had stronger muscles I couldn’t invert myself. So I thought it is the balance. Another 6 months passed and I still couldn’t do it even if I was doing a very balanced ‘tree pose’. Then I realized my problem wasn’t about strength or balance. It was about my comfort zone. This realization came up with some partner yoga practices. I couldn’t let go. I couldn’t trust my partner and let my partner to have the control and so both me and my partner were failing in the asanas because of my ‘comfort zone’. I realized that I was doing the same thing to myself with the inversions. I couldn’t let go off my fear. I couldn’t trust myself and leave my comfort zone. What now?
Through yoga practice, a person becomes aware of his/her body. He/she starts to know his/her body better than before. In every practice a different reaction of the body is seen to an exact same asana. After some time maybe there is some progress. Some asanas become easy and more challenging poses are tried. With those more challenging poses you start to trust to yourself. You start to see the power in you but at the same time you realize the power of breath. While at first you were trying to align your breath with the asana, you see that with the challenging poses you automatically do that because they are impossible to do without stable breathing. And then one day with a complete clear mind and aligned breath, I was practicing the half headstand, I was not thinking that I could invert myself but suddenly I found myself at the wall upside down.
Now I see the path to inversions like a triangle. Obviously you can’t invert yourself by only leaving your comfort zone and trusting yourself, you need a base with two corners. One corner is the strength and the other corner is the balance. Both corners can be trained by other activities like fitness. However the most important corner, the top corner is the courage. Leaving your comfort zone, letting go off your fear and trusting yourself. That you will learn only with yoga practice. Once you invert yourself you will more easily leave your comfort zone. So are you ready to dive into the sea?