• neissa@igniteyourlifenow.

Why Stressors and Exercise are Some of Life's Greatest Helpers and Teachers


Point to ponder:

What stressors, frustrations or challenges are you currently experiencing that can become your teacher and helper?

While living in San Diego I regularly attend a heated Power Vinyasa Flow class. I loved this class because of the instructor. His name was Dat and he was introspective and intuitive. He was always teaching and challenging his students, both physically and mentally. It was rare I didn't leave with a nugget of wisdom. The one I remember most was, “As you can feel, this room is heated. This may frustrate you, but it’s here to help you."

In the case of Dat's yoga class as well as when I was a Bikram yoga junkie, I developed a love/hate relationship with the heat. I loved it because it helped my tight body ease in and out of poses more comfortably, but I hated it because it caused me to be incredibly uncomfortable and frustrated. Fifteen minutes into class my body was covered in sweat, which dripped into my burning eyes and onto my mat. Eventually, I learned to appreciate the heat because it sharpened my mind and strengthened my body. I went from wanting to run out of the room, to learning how to calm my breathing and therefore my thoughts--taking long deep breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth. I had to work hard to stabilize my muscles so I didn't slip on my mat. Like all stressors, the heat became my teacher. It helped me control my wondering and agitated thoughts and ultimately, I got comfortable with being uncomfortable.

This is why in iGnite we believe exercise is a life helper and why we encourage and welcome physical and mental/emotional discomfort. Whether it be wanting to go fast in yoga when you need to go slow; going slow when you need to go fast or working through and enduring the leg and lung burn during squats, lunges, jumps or sprints on any kind. This is also why we love being outdoors. The uncontrolled outdoor environment comes with unpredictability and stressors such heat, cold, humidity and without this regular discomfort, we become mentally, physically and emotionally weak, which inhibits our ability to transform into the person we can become. Just imagine if the caterpillar never worked to get out of her cozy cocoon? She would've never morphed into a butterfly. Better yet, for sure the Monarch butterflies migration journey to Mexico comes with countless stressors, yet she welcomes it every year and gets where she has to go.

Literally and figuratively, life stressors are a major pain, but they can also serve as our greatest helper and teacher. Sometimes they exist to teach us something we need to learn in the present, while sometimes we experience them to help us in the future. Then sometimes it has nothing to do with us at all. Stressors arrive in our life so we can help someone else. It's one of the great mysteries of life. Therefore, next time you find yourself in the middle of a stressor and trying to decide if you should go up it or around it, I encourage you to dive head first into it, because there's a helper and teacher inside.

Action Item:

Rather than avoid an uncomfortable or challenging situation, conversation or opportunity, or wish it to just go away, remember that what we resist, persists, and with a mindset shift these things can become our greatest teachers and helpers.

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