Learn to Play your Edge
The Edge is the boundary between all that you are and all that you can become. It’s a challenging place to be both in life and in yoga as it’s the tipping point between where we are now and where we grow to. Do we step forward into the unknown (which is often where our highest potential lies) or fall back into the comfortable discomfort of what we have always known? That job we are frustrated with but which is easy. The pose we can do but doesn’t really challenge us.
If there’s one thing my connection to my practice has taught me is that when you work at the Edge with reverence and respect you can challenge yourself to go a bit further. When I’m on the mat and ready to play my Edge, it’s like I’m supercharged. I feel the energy in my body, the connection to my fellow yogis in the room, that sense of oneness with myself and my surroundings.
The pose begins. And the Edge is reached, the point of challenge and change. Your mind tells you it’s not possible to stay in the pose and it becomes hard to hold. So you breathe. Inhaling. Exhaling. Allowing the sensations and emotions in your body to rise, but not backing away from the physical burn of your muscles working at full capacity. Surrendering without judgment to the moment. Staying curious about yourself, working with the breath. Inhaling you rise a bit further, exhaling you drop a bit deeper into the pose, allowing the body to soften into the edges of your discomfort.
And Boom! It happens. You get a hit of the mental clarity which comes when stuck emotions release off your nervous system, the physical burn subsides and you break through the Edge, to become fully present in both mind and body and in doing so part company with old ways of showing up in the world. That’s change. That’s transformation.
As you can see there are different Edges to be played. The physical edge, where if you go beyond what you are really capable of you injure yourself. The emotional edge, where the tears and laughter bubble up as you safely release stored emotions that no longer serve you. And the psychological edge, the training of the mind to remain focused, concentrated, and dedicated to the pose despite the discomfort.
This is true yoga. Respectfully and without injury shedding the limitations we either place on ourselves or other people place on us. Realising those limitations probably weren’t real, to begin with. And just like life, the Edge is about learning to thrive and persevere even when the road gets bumpy. It’s breathing and softening into the intensity of the discomfort as opposed to running from it.
Of course, everyone’s Edge is different and you may not want to work at your Edge every time you are on the mat but next time, ask yourself what it is that you need to release. Quieten the mind, drop into the body, let it speak its truth. Feel it. Move through it. Heal it. This is your growth zone, where the magic happens.