Friday, June 09, 2006

So-Called Comfort Zone

This week, I was having a conversation with some online friends about the postures that we find the most comforting & stabilizing. I was surprised to find myself thinking again and again of postures that I also find very demanding. Especially this one in the picture, Kurmasana. It is very intense, very difficult, and somehow - supremely calming.

In fact, I think it's only when a posture IS very demanding that it is able to command my attention, and give me a break from my usual concerns. If a pose isn't challenging enough, I'll just keep on thinking in our same old patterns... But the intensity and urgency of difficult poses tears us away from anything familiar and forces us to go looking for new options. It can be uncomfortable, but it is also fresh, real, and new... And that's what brings about the true yogic experience of being alive and in the moment.

And this got me thinking about the expression "comfort zone." Being in the "comfort zone" usually means staying within one's realm of previous experiences - whether it's not looking for more effort in a pose, not challenging myself mentally, or sticking with situations that are emotionally familiar.

But are we really so comfortable in the so-called "comfort zone"?? I don't think I am. If I were so comfortable with my current status quo... I wouldn't be doing yoga, I wouldn't be continually looking for opportunities to grow and expand.

And obviously these effects are all at play in the making of art as well... sticking within familiar subjects/styles/mediums/marks ... and not pushing out into the infinite realm of other options. Hmmm.... exciting!


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