Step Outside of the Zone

by Stacey

In her latest blog post, yoga teacher Anna Guest-Jelley writes about her experience of what she calls ‘the zone’:

When I first started practicing yoga at home… my goal was just to move… My entire intention was             actually to check out and just get into “the zone.”

At the time, the zone was what I conceived of as being in my body. But in retrospect, I realize they’re not the same. In the zone, I’m in a space somewhat beyond my body — still using it, and not quite as in my mind as when I’m, say, worrying over what’s next on my to-do list. To me, the zone is almost more about being in the future than anything else. It’s moving through the poses, always ready for what’s next.

Oh, how I can relate.

Early on, this zone was my comfort zone during my yoga classes. I could drop in and tune out. I could watch myself from afar. The zone afforded me the opportunity to self righteously congratulate myself for doing something that was healthy and spiritual on the one hand, while still criticizing myself for not doing a harder practice on the other. We do it to ourselves all of the time. Delighting in the taste of a decadent scoop of ice cream in one moment and bemoaning the 5 pounds we will gain from eating it in the next. Negating sincere compliments with self-deprecating humor. There are a myriad of subtle ways we keep ourselves in this place of attempting to control the future in an effort to avoid pain and premeditate pleasure.

The problem is the pain happens anyway. The pleasure is never as great as we imagined it would be and the resulting pain from our attachment to the outcome is sharper. Living on these extremes keeps us searching for perfection. If we were perfect, then all of the pieces would fall into place, right?

When I step out of my zone, I assume a risk. I might not get what I want in the moment, but I always have what I need. I can find joy in accepting what is and create my experience from that place, rather than striving for something else. When I am out of my zone, I move through the world with surprising ease because I am operating from a place of relaxed expansion instead of anxious tension. I say yes to the present and the magic unfolds.

What does it feel like to step outside of your comfort zone, even for a moment? What beautiful discovery awaits?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jen July 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I certainly can relate to the zone. I think my biggest issue is letting go of my crtical mind. I guess I am not alone…Thank you for your encouraging outlook! I will go outside and work on my flower beds!

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