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Kino's Yogi Assignment Blog

Navigate at the Edge of Your Comfort Zone

Today I am going to ask you to step outside the edges of your comfort zone. This is something yoga asks us to do all the time. Some of us call it “moving into the fire”, and I’m sure you recognize that sore, burning sensation that comes from the stretching and strength-building we do on the mat. 

In this way, yoga is very confrontational. The practice asks us to face that which we are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with and ultimately come out on the other side a little bit stronger for it. And if we’re practicing yoga regularly, many of us face this confrontation on a daily basis.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way to grow, both physically and emotionally. Yoga practice gives us the tools we need to step off the edge of familiarity, and I myself am still trying to learn my way around divergent points of view and opinions.

Ultimately, as yoga teachers, our job is to create a safe space for all members of our community, a space that breeds respect and the opportunity to communicate. At the time of this podcast, I am opening a new yoga space with gender-neutral bathrooms. Considering the new Florida state laws regarding the transgender community, I want to take this opportunity to help my fellow yoga teachers and practitioners understand how they can become more inclusive.

It’s important to create a space for everyone to safely explore the unfamiliar, and I share some advice that has helped me to be more welcoming and inclusive. From the language we use to the way we approach hands-on adjustments, there are opportunities everywhere. The key is communication – moving out of a space of complacency and into one of action. 

Asking questions is important, but so is inclusive language. For example, introducing yourself to the class and including your preferred pronouns opens the door for everyone else to feel comfortable sharing their preferred pronouns. Small steps into the unknown are sometimes all it takes to inspire others to take that step out of their own comfort zone. 

I share more ways yoga teachers can integrate inclusivity into their studios, with advice on consent-based adjustments, human anatomy, and making mistakes. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes as you navigate the edge of society’s comfort zone, so it’s important to remain humble. 

Yoga is a spiritual practice, a historically safe space that represents equity and justice for all that encourages people to become their higher selves. I am always encouraging you to take what you learn on the mat out into your world, and it’s important for yoga teachers and students alike to show up for their community and accurately represent what yoga means to us. If we aren’t using that goodness we learn in yoga, then what is the point of the practice?

Listen to my latest Yoga Inspiration podcast episode here.

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