Quite regularly, a beginner in tai chi or qigong is put off from continuing classes because he/she is experiencing a bit of discomfort. This discomfort could be one of two things; 1) a muscle that isn’t used to being used, and/or 2) an existing condition that is being made to think about itself.
People get used to the way that they feel in their bodies, and the way they feel becomes their definition of ‘comfortable’. Even when in pain, this pain fits within the parameters of how they usually ‘are’, and therefore fits into the ‘comfortable’ definition.
Bizarre in one way, yet completely understandable in another.
It’s very difficult to feel what ‘more comfortable’ would feel like, isn’t it? I mean, you are who you are at that precise moment, and anything else requires that you step out of that moment, and therefore outside who you are.
So, are you one of those who, when you feel discomfort, choose to stick with the old you, rather than try to change anything?
Obviously this doesn’t apply to everyone, in fact it probably doesn’t apply to the majority; most want to stretch their boundaries, but it interests me that there are quite a few, particularly in the over-60s age group, who are reluctant to change.
Odd isn’t it? I mean your body’s not going to get any better. If you don’t do something about it, what with the ageing process of joints, muscles, tendons, blood supply, body tissue, metabolic rate, etc., you can guarantee 100% that it’s actually going to get worse.
So why not push yourself a little bit to slow the whole process down? What is there to lose?
The answer to that is … dis-comfort (or ‘not’-comfort).
It can be uncomfortable to push beyond your usual boundaries. It not only requires effort to produce the feeling of discomfort (which can be unpleasant as it’s out of the comfort-zone), but when you have achieved dis-comfort, it requires the energy to deal with it.
This is often a simple thing like bending your knees to get a slightly lower posture, perhaps when stepping in tai chi or qigong, or when doing a standing qigong posture (which is more demanding as you feel the discomfort more acutely).