Several months ago I upgraded my computer. It was four and a half years old, rather ancient in computer years, and I had procrastinated for over a year. In the past, when I upgraded my computer, there were problems. When I switched from my first computer to my second many years ago, a part failed the first time I turned it on and smoke poured out of the back. My upgrade in 2000 required hours and hours on the phone over several days because I could not connect to the Internet.

Computers have come a long way in four years and I was pleasantly surprised when it took less than five minutes to establish an Internet connection. The only hassle was getting Windows, the firewall and the antivirus software to cooperate. Now I have a reasonably safe computer that runs at a satisfactory speed. I should have done this years ago!

Like most people, I tend to avoid things that have caused me problems in the past. In some ways this is smart; I learn from my mistakes. However, in some cases, like my computer, avoiding the discomfort of upgrading held me back. I can now burn backup CDs and I have a new email program and Internet browser that would not have run on my old machine. I am sure there are all types of features I have not discovered yet.

In the yoga classes I teach, it is very obvious there are some poses that people do not like and do not practice at home very often. We tend to enjoy the poses we can do well and those are the ones we practice. Through practice we see improvement and we tend to like those poses even more. Yet, each pose has a purpose. If you do one class of poses like forward bends to the exclusion of other poses like backbends, over time your body becomes unbalanced. Your hamstrings become more flexible while your hip flexors may tighten. To bring your body into balance, you need to practice a range of poses, creating both strength and flexibility.

One practice method is to choose poses you do not like and do those as your yoga practice a few times a month. Another is to choose a pose or two you find challenging and add it to your regular practice. These poses may not become your absolute favorites, but you may find over time they are not your absolute least favorite poses either.

How often have you avoided something you know you need to do, but have held back because you did not want to deal with the discomfort? One student told me her method of handling tasks is to do the least pleasant tasks first, and then the rest are easy. If you do the easy or fun tasks first and postpone the less agreeable tasks, they tend to stay at the back of your mind and the idea of doing them becomes even more unappealing.

It is human nature to be attracted to that which is pleasurable, but when taken to an extreme, there can be pitfalls, such as overeating or over exercising. Our behavior can be equally influenced by that which we attempt to avoid.

When you find you are avoiding something, is it wisdom gained from past experience, or would your life be enhanced by working through the discomfort so you can enjoy what is on the other side?