Friday, October 25, 2013

The Edge in Yoga

Photo via Pinterest.

The edge is where we come right up against ourselves and what we can do and be.

It is the boundary between where we are and where we grow, the place of comfortable discomfort, where all growing and healing happens.

The edge is the point in every pose when you are still within your capacities but are challenging yourself to go just a little bit farther. Stepping up to this edge and daring to leap is how you break through and thus break with old ways of being.

Baron Baptiste, Journey Into Power

Photo of Kathryn Budig via Pinterest.

Last night I practiced falling in love with my yoga practice. The path there was simple: finding my edge, over and over.

There was something electric about the work I did on the mat. I felt the energy present between my hands in samasthiti as we chanted om gam ganapataye namaha, my heart filling up. I could feel myself connect with the other yogis in the room, with the teacher, with a collective oneness in that first om.

Even during the warm up postures –core work while lying on my back, and a few rounds of cat/cow—I kept asking myself, Where is my edge? What does it feel like to be gentle in the process of finding that place where I am reaching for something more?

Flowing through sun salutations allowed me to move deeper. Each repetition felt like an awakening, a compassionate unfolding, an expression of my Self in the moment.

Photo via Curly Fishtree.

When a pose became hard, I breathed more. Instead of backing away, I allowed myself to feel into the sensations – the physical burn of muscles working, the emotional release of surrendering to the moment, the cognitive clarity of becoming wholly focused on only the breath.

Something clicked. I held side crow on each side for 5 breaths. I rose into bird of paradise fluidly, feeling ease and space in the posture. Headstand was a relief, a breakthrough into peace, simply a chance to breathe. During the third round of wheel pose, I straightened my elbows and knees. And when the teacher told us to come down, I still wanted more.


As I settled into savasana, I could feel energy moving up and down my spine with each inhale and exhale. Sushumna Nadi, the center channel. I could feel new space, new light.

I pushed through my edge last night. I trusted the words of my teacher, not resisting any moment or any pose. At the moments when I wanted to give up or allow myself to fall out, I stayed. I breathed deeper. I felt the heat in my body, the feelings of curiosity and elation. I noticed the thoughts coming and going, not attaching myself to them; instead, I stayed present in the body.
Photo via Pinterest.

Today as you practice, I challenge you to challenge yourself. What are you holding back? What more can you give? What more can you soften?

At the moments when you want to give up, stay. Give yourself the gift of finding your edge.


PS Try this post on being open to challenges, or this one on having faith in the practice of yoga and reflecting the true nature of asana.

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