In health

By Cheryl Hansen

Sometimes it seems as if comfort is a bad thing. Comfort food is typically beige, usually soft. We’re always told to get out of our comfort zones. And wearing sweats to the New Year’s Eve party is generally frowned upon. So the message seems to be that anything worth having or doing should be uncomfortable. It hardly seems fair.

That said, I’m always fascinated by stories of actors who train for a specific role, learning to ride a horse or box or dance—all in an effort to look like a natural on the big screen. Professionals work with these performers for weeks, sometimes months, helping them build strength or skills (or both). Some of the celebrities overcome fears, others find they’re more athletic than they’d ever known. How many times do we hear these stories and wish we could work with that expert and get really good at something we never knew we wanted to do? (And maybe a rockin’ set of abs along the way, too?)

The thing is—we can. I can. I won’t say it’s all about getting out of my comfort zone, because what is that really? My bed? My oatmeal? My Toad & Co. cozy knit leggings? I may step away from that stuff. Temporarily. But that may be all it takes.

I think it boils down to three things:

  • Make a choice – Whether it’s cooking or yoga or karate or French, decide what role you’re training for and commit. My friend Suzanne and I used to be full of ideas—all of which excited us. But at the end of every brainstorming session, we’d say, “OK. Now pick one.”
  • Find your pro – We may not have an industry expert at our disposal, but we have resources—trainers, teachers, online courses.
  • Be patient – It takes time to get good. It takes practice. And it takes patience (it was worth repeating).

After years of taking occasional yoga classes, I decided I wanted to be better. So I started to go to classes (almost) every week. And I am better. I’m more at ease on my mat (more comfortable, you might say). I understand the instructions and appreciate what it can do for my body and my mind. But I wouldn’t yet convince an audience of my skills. There’s more work to do. More classes to take. More commitment to make. More practice. More questions. More research. What’s cool is that there was a time when none of that would have seemed possible. But now? I’m just more comfortable in my yoga pants these days.


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