• KK

Finding Your Edges - The Difference Between Discomfort and Pain

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

When I’m teaching yoga, I very intentionally explain to my participants that they need only push themselves to their edges, but no further. My description of that is to ask the students to bring themselves into discomfort, but not into pain. If a student is feeling pain, I would encourage them to scale back slightly. Come back into uncomfortable.

From discomfort comes growth, I might say. And I say this beyond the mat, I say it to my training clients, and I say it to my HIIT participants.

Pain, however, well pain is something else altogether. It might be true that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, but the experience of pain develops a completely different kind of growth. Growth of character, growth of resilience, growth of fortitude. But with pain comes so many other issues, some of which are more complicated than simply being able to scale back.

The growth we develop from discomfort can be better described as a lengthening. When we push our muscles into discomfort, we are expanding them, allowing for better mobility and flexibility. Most importantly, and beyond the mat as well, when we work with our discomfort, we are developing patience with ourselves, and patience with our abilities.

Well. I have a lot of thoughts about this but I’m going to keep it brief. I think we can all agree that this thing we’re in right now is uncomfortable. But it isn’t painful. At least not right now. And hopefully not ever. It’s uncomfortable being in your house all the time. It’s uncomfortable not being able to see your friends or co-workers, to go to the store for some retail therapy, to get to the gym.

I know and acknowledge and appreciate that it is beyond discomfort and even downright painful for some. Soon to be many, if those of us who are uncomfortable can’t be careful about how we develop patience with our own discomfort for the next little while. We can do this. We may be apart but we are together. It’s not forever, it’s hopefully just a little while longer. Please hang in there.


Remind yourself of the difference between discomfort and pain.

If you are struggling with uncertainty, anxiety, or pain of any kind, you need to reach out. Feelings of loneliness and isolation are also indicators that your mental health may not be where it needs to be. And that’s not wrong, but it deserves attention. If you need help finding a resource, reach out to someone. If you don’t have someone to reach out to, call me and I will help you find the right resource. If you don’t want to reach out to me, Klinic has a 24-hour crisis line – 204-786-8686 or 1-888-322-3019.

Most of all, let’s be kind to one another. Some of us are handling this differently than others, and we should all be applauding one another for the efforts we are making, regardless of what that looks like. I love and appreciate each and every one of you and I wish you all safety and health.

#charmschoolfitness #hummingbirds #mentalhealth #growth #discomfort #covid #winnipeg #manitoba

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