The Tin Man, a Scarecrow, and a 93yr old Grandpa have a baby
There’s a particular yoga class I attend on Saturday afternoons.
This “brand” of yoga is called Yin, which is a slow-paced, therapeutic style of yoga. Meaning, you get into into a given pose (or asana as they’re called), and sit in it for what feels like an eternity.
Most asanas will be held for two, five, up to ten minutes at a time. Despite how relatively *easy* Yin is, sitting in poses for such a length of time is about as comfortable as falling asleep with your head on a pillow of bricks. When you come out of these poses, you feel like the lovechild of the Tin Man, a scarecrow, and an 93-year old grandpa.
There hits a point in each asana where the stretch, along with the immense amount of blood flow, heat, and energy coursing through your body becomes overwhelming. The intensity increases, heat builds, and you’ll probably lose control of your breath, which serves to amplify the discomfort.
At this point, you’re faced with two options.
You can bail on the pose under the guise of readjusting (however, I’ve found bailing at this point leaves A LOT of progress on the table).
Or you can grit your teeth, refocus your breath, and settle in for the remainder.
This is where the magic, change, and progress happens.
Last week, Risto (the dude who has single-handedly helped me undo years of sports injuries and abuse in the gym), told a story of how during his teacher training for Yin, he had to hold poses for 15, 20, 25 minutes at a time.
Coming from a background of quick, fast-paced yoga styles, Risto found holding poses for more than ten seconds absolute torture. Not only in a physical sense, but mental as well.
It’s a trip when you have nothing to distract yourself with, are surrounded by silence, and have nowhere to focus but inward.
But Risto found the result of holding poses for an eternity, was the first time he began to experience true change.
In other words, the changes in his body only came on the other side of a mountainous cascade of discomfort, internal angst, and pain.
The idea of needing to live through discomfort and pain in order to grow is nothing new. But I believe most understate how much discomfort and pain is truly required before you can sip on the sweet wines of success waiting on the other side.
Even if your thoughts, actions, and decisions are perfectly aligned with your missions, and you’re progressing…as Joseph Campbell would say:
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
Off the cuff, here are a few examples of caves I’ve found myself exploring over the past few years:
1. Slinging lattes at Starbucks 40-45hrs/week while prepping for a bodybuilding show, trying to be present in a relationship, and building up my fitness business to the point where I could leave Starbucks without sinking.
2. Isolating myself in Athens for three months to understand why I was fucking up relationships, and figuring what I needed to work on to avoid it happening again.
3. Pushing my body to absurd, unhealthy lengths to pose in front of a stadium of people for a shot at a plastic trophy.
None of this was remotely comfortable.
Cave #1 resulted in averaging 5hrs of sleep, being sick for the better part of 4 months, and nearly hospitalizing myself.
Cave #2 was full of raw, intense introspection, and thanks to wine consumption that would make my Greek ancestors proud, an assessment + overhaul of my way of being.
Cave #3 was purely an extreme exercise in delayed gratification (focusing on the reward of being on the stage is the only way to make it through bodybuilding prep without cracking).
Can you spot the operative point to these three caves tying back into Yin yoga?
The answer is Duration.
Many minutes in the case of individual yoga poses, and many months in the case of everything else.
You know as well as I do, shit won’t change overnight, this week, or even this month.
But give it months and years?
Now we’re talking.
If you have control over your thoughts, actions, decisions, and are generally moving forward, all you need to do is apply duration, and grit your teeth in the face of discomfort.
If you DON’T have control over your thoughts, actions, and decisions, you need to start there.
Which is something I’ll be teaching inside the Sorcerers Guild print newsletter. I’m sending the first issue to the printer *sometime* in August, post-launch.
To access an exclusive lifetime rate (only available for 24hrs), click the link below to add your name to the pre-sale list:
(Note: clicking the link above will automatically add your name to the Sorcerers Guild pre-sale list, take you to a clip from Rick & Morty, the greatest animated show of all time, and allow you to gain access to the Sorcerers Guild launch special 24 hours before anyone else on this list or my social media channels does)