Lessons in Discomfort

Once a week, I try to make it to my yoga mat and to my Yin Yoga class.  Beyond the obvious benefits of yoga, this class helps me to put into practice some important conflict management skills…

Yin Yoga is a practice whereby the student places himself in supported stretches for a length of time. So, once settled into the pose, the student connects with his breath and holds the position for approximately 5 minutes. When discomfort occurs, the student is instructed to stay in the pose and to gently bring attention and awareness to the sensitive area.   Breathing through the discomfort for the whole duration of the pose if necessary.

When I bring attention to discomfort during Yin, I usually discover that I can relax a little more and that doing so almost always brings with it relief.  This doesn’t work in every case and on some days, it’s harder to do than on others… but I have learned two things from this continued practice:

1. Shifting my position may bring temporary relief but almost always results in a displacement of the discomfort to somewhere else.

2. Adopting a mindset of attention and awareness has allowed me to stretch my body in ways that I didn’t think possible.

These lessons in discomfort are something that I try to practice every day.

When faced with an uncomfortable situation on your Agile team, try bringing gentle attention along with awareness to the discomfort. Try to resist the urge to correct or to fix. Work with the team to “relax” the situation without changing it.  Doing so will help the team to stretch in ways they may have not thought possible.

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