Friday, November 2, 2012

"Growth Is the Most Important Thing That There Is"

Principle Three is my favorite.

Growth Is the Most Important Thing That There Is.

Baron says in Journey into Power, "Growth is forward movement; anything else is stagnation or, worse, regression."  Stagnation.  Regression.  Those words just sound gross.  Nobody needs 'em.  And, you guessed it, growth does not happen in the past or future.  It happens now, now, NOW!

Before yoga, I was clueless about many of life's great lessons (but I thought I knew it all, of course).  However, this little guiding point has always rang true.  That's why it's my favorite.

For what yogic knowledge I do not innately possess, I turn to pinterest.  It tells me everything I need to know.  Like the message in the above image.  For those who have not picked up on my sarcastic sense of humor, that is sarcasm (but I do love pinterest).  Yes, I'm a yoga teacher and I'm sarcastic -- yoga teachers are people, too!  Cool, funny people sometimes.

I regress.  Back to growth.  The most important thing that there is can be found at the end of your comfort zone.  Plain and simple.  It's not like some of the other principles that make you think "huh, what....oh, that's clever!"  We grow when we step outside the comfort zone and up to the edge -- and jump right over.  Anybody ever get a six-pack by whining about hard work and skipping abs in class?

Actually, I'm all too familiar with the end of the comfort zone.  I love it there.  I thrive there.  I'm comfortable there.  I'm comfortable with being uncomfortable, yes.  If I'm not mildly nauseous from stress, I start to worry.  I have a terrible time sitting still.  I always have at least five books in my rotation.  My storage closet is exploding with sporting equipment from my many passions.  I've had ten jobs in five years and have explored at least 30 potential career paths.  I love, more than anything, to try and experience new places, activities, ideas, and people.  A friend described me as an "excitement seeker."  That is the understatement of the century.  My brain is literally spinning with excitement as I write this (and add 10 new things to my goals list)!

The thing about growth is, you can go a billion different places looking for it, but in order to fully embody it, you must first accept exactly where you are. On the mat, I see this acceptance as the point where you stop telling yourself you "can't" and see the possibility of finally catching that bind or kicking up to the wall into handstand for the first time and then actually going for it.  You'll probably miss or fall a few times until you get there, but that's you pushing past your edge, experiencing growth.  Try it sometime every time.

As I come to accept where I am right now, I understand that I must let go of the idea that growth only exists in excitement and discomfort.  That stepping outside my comfort zone means staying in a comfort zone.  Bringing it back to the mat, it's like when you hear a teacher encourage students to go to their edge during a challenging moment in class (I've said this before) and suggest that maybe that edge is child's pose.  For me, learning to take child's pose, instead of powering through pain, meant accepting myself exactly as I am.  It is the place where I stop being hard on myself, get present, and find connection.  It has become my comfort zone.

As you embark on your own personal journey of growth on your mat and in your life, please take a moment to ask yourself first if you are ok with where you are, as you can only move forward if you are honest with your current situation and drop what's holding you back.

Just never lose your sense of humor.  You'll always need that.

See you on the mat,

Liz (

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