The safety of the comfort zone
Quite simply, the comfort zone is a state where we feel safe and at ease, where things are familiar and we feel we’re in control. Stress, uncertainty and anxiety don’t impinge so much on the comfort zone. The comfort zone is like watching tv on the sofa in your pajamas. It’s a pretty cosy, comfortable place to be.
The trouble is, if we never step out of our comfort zone, we’ll miss out on a lot of exciting things that life has to offer. Yes, we may get scared, we might feel anxious, we may experience stress and uncertainty, we may even feel out of control, but if we dare to step outside we’ll also reap so many benefits. These include:
- expanding horizons
- learning new things
- opportunities to grow
- increased creativity
- exhilaration and a sense of personal achievement
- …and the best one – a wider comfort zone!
Safety versus stress
Of course the boundaries of our individual comfort zones are different for us all. What may galvanise one person, may paralyse another, so it’s important that we find a middle ground; a place where we can experiment stepping out of our comfort zone mindfully, so as not to create too much stress – either for our bodies or our minds.
How yoga can help
Yoga works not only when the poses are relaxing, but also when and because they are stressful. It’s important to note that stress may be experienced not only when we challenge ourselves physically (i.e during stronger, challenging poses) but also in the mind – for instance, during a yin class when the mind wants to move faster than the body. It is our attempts to remain calm during this stress that create yoga’s greatest neurobiological benefit.
The stress response in the nervous system is triggered by discomfort and disorientation and tends to lead to anxious thinking. This response may seem automatic, but that does not mean it is necessary. It is, in fact, just a habit of the brain. One of the main purposes of yoga is to retrain this habit to move the brain in the other direction, away from stress and towards relaxation.
The yoga mat can be a place where we consciously work with this – so that also in daily life we are able to make choices from a place of calm, rather than of stress.
Stretch your comfort zone programme
Follow our Stretch Your Comfort Zone programmewhich encourages you to stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone by suggesting challenging classes that will present you with plenty of opportunities to broaden your comfort zone!
For experienced beginners and intermediate students
This programme is designed for 2 different levels – experienced beginners or intermediate – so you can work at the level that’s right for you.
- Experienced beginners
You will be offered classes to help develop your strength, stability and groundedness, increase your energy, tap into your Warrior and ignite your tapas or fire!
- Intermediate students
You will be invited to advance your practice, get your blood pumping and heart thumping with some heat-building vinyasa classes, balances, backbends and a breath-led flow!
This programme is a great follow-up to one of our yoga challenges for those who want to maintain strength and stamina of body and mind.
Stretch Your Comfort Zone features classes by Esther Ekhart, Sandra Carson, MacKenzie Miller, Nichi Green, Raghunath, Jeff Phenix and David Lurey.