One of my favourite on-the-mat life lessons is learning to sit with discomfort - and be okay with it.
Yin yoga can be irritating and uncomfortable - but it is during the times that I'm most fidgety and emotional in a yin class that I'm learning the most.
In yin postures, we practice accepting stillness and letting go. Our instincts are to tense up and fidget when we feel uncomfortable in long holds - but yin teaches us to breath into the areas we're finding bothersome and to let it go on the exhale. We try to succumb to gravity - and end up being okay in the process.
I think one of the most important practices for me in yin is accepting that discomfort is there but not engaging with it. As a highly anxious person with cyclical thoughts and worries, learning how to notice when discomfort and negative thoughts are arising and then choosing to focus on my breath instead has been hugely rewarding off of the mat.
I've learned that it's okay and normal to have these thoughts and to feel uncomfortable - but how we engage with our thoughts (or just let them exist while bringing our focus to something else) makes all the difference in how we feel.
Next time you feel anxious or uncomfortable I challenge you to practice this - even (and especially!) outside of yoga. Notice that these thoughts are coming up, acknowledge that they're there, and then let them be. Think of them as a bubble. Rather than popping it and letting its contents explode, instead allow it to drift in the background of your mind while you bring your focus to your body and your breathe. The bubble is only there temporarily - it will eventually drift away.