The benefits of life are brought on and experienced through discomfort — not pain, unease, suffering, or torture, but imposed discomfort. Nothing has been attained from simply being comfortable, and the ways in which you behave in your discomfort expose your character. Reacting outwardly towards others in times of discomfort is a sign that one is conditioned in the behavior of reward and punishment, whereas one who accepts discomfort and adapts the current self to change into a new being is acting intelligently. Yoga is one way to learn intelligence of behavior and character.

Having lost about 3 kg of body weight against my own will recently over ten days due to an insufficient caloric intake and low-protein diet combined with very little sleep and constant running around trying to get in and out of hotels, vans and taxis, and on and off planes in four countries before coming back to the US, I am left wondering if I needed that extra weight. I have since gotten my daily caloric intake back up to 3-4 thousand, but I haven’t gained any of my weight back in over a week. Five years and twenty pounds (less) ago, a friend of mine who saw me lose 60 pounds said I was now a stick. Right now I feel like a stick. This brings me to an extremely subtle and difficult yoga pose called Lifted Stick, which targets the abdominals and makes very good use of the whole body if you allow it to, and as with any yoga pose, very good use of the mind, your perception of self, your environment, time, space, impermanence, intuition, and spirituality — if you allow it to.

Starting in the stick position, depress the scapulae enough to lift all of your weight off the floor. You may have difficulty or even impossibility with lifting the heels off the floor. Try leaning forward slightly while keeping your back in a straight line, with the bend at the hips at around 110 degrees. Knees should be fully extended while using the iliacus, psoas, and quadriceps femoris to lift the thighs, legs, and feet. Place your hands as far forward as you find necessary to support all your body weight, finding that your wrists may be completely ahead of your buttocks when in the pose.

The extended knees will keep the hamstrings stretched to their limits; your hip flexors need to be exceptionally strong to engage the lift of the legs and feet from a floating pelvis; a strong back is necessary to keep you sitting upright in mid-air; your respiratory and pelvic diaphragms need to be strong along with your abdominals to counteract the back muscles in balance; you’ll need excellent strength in the upper body to hold the posture. Good luck in your discomfort.