Do you want to find your edge in yoga class without injuring yourself? Finding your edge is not always easy. The edge is the place you go in a posture where you are able to stay present, breathe deeply and receive the benefits of the pose while also cultivating relaxation in your body and your mind.
Pushing yourself can take you beyond your edge, while holding back can prevent you from ever meeting your edge. If you tend to push yourself in the rest of your life, you may also find yourself pushing yourself in yoga practice. Or, on the contrary, if you tend to hold back in the rest of your life, you may back off before fully expressing a posture.
The problem with pushing ourselves is that we can cause injury and miss out on the movement inquiry process. If we try to attain or perfect a certain form, we may not be able to hear the information coming to us from our own bodies. Yet if we do not challenge ourselves, our practice can become stagnant. We miss out on the incredible benefits of going deeper into a posture.
Many yoga educators invite students to explore their bodies for sensation. They encourage students to move through practice with a sense of interest and curiosity about their own experience. Plus teachers often encourage yogis to explore postures until they reach a depth that creates sensation without causing pain. After all, pain is a messenger letting us know that we need to back off and pay attention to a specific area of our bodies.
Discovering our edge without injuring ourselves requires self-awareness and a willingness to trust our own experience. Easier said than done, I know. To #GoDeep, check out these five tips to advance your practice and discover your edge.
5 Ways to Find Your Edge Without Causing Injury
1. Work With A Private Yoga Instructor
Hiring your favorite yoga teacher for a couple of sessions may be a worthwhile investment. I was amazed to discover the depth I was able to explore in my postures when I was assisted by an experienced yoga teacher who first helped me to discover my alignment and then helped me find my edge with hands-on assists. Working in one-on-one sessions can open up new realms of practice, on and off the mat.
2. Pay Attention To Sequencing
Your edge may vary every time you step onto a mat. Many teachers design classes to progressively open up specific parts of the body. This is called sequencing. Your edge at the beginning of a hip sequence, for example, may be different when you are entering your first hip opening postures than the postures that come at the end of the sequence.
3. Allow The Two Sides Of Your Body To Be Different
Regardless of sequencing, your left and right sides of your body are different. Allowing the two sides of your body to be as different as they actually are can help you discover your edge on each side, without causing injury by forcing the less flexible side to match the other side.
4. Begin The Inquiry
If you tend to push yourself during yoga practice, explore the following questions: What are you trying to achieve? If you were to discover your edge without pushing, what would you do? What would you say to yourself? How would you breathe? What would happen if each time you feel like pushing yourself, you relax instead?
If you tend to back off or give up on yourself too soon, explore the following questions: What gets in the way of going deeper into your postures? What causes you to hold back? What would you need to do to support yourself to feel safe enough to discover your edge? What happens in yoga and life when you discover your edge instead of holding back? How do you feel?
5. Choose An Inward Focus
We live in a competitive society. And sometimes comparisons and competition enter the yoga studio unconsciously. Focusing the mind on the sensations occurring in our own bodies can help to discover an edge without pushing ourselves into postures or flows that could injure our bodies. We each have our own anatomical makeup and postures may look and feel very different from person to person. There is no perfect posture we must attain to practice yoga.
What else can you do to advance your yoga practice today?
Although there are advanced physical postures that require tremendous strength, balance and focus, the most advanced yoga practices are not necessarily physically strenuous. Advanced yoga practices may not look difficult from the outside, yet they require the practitioner to focus the mind and explore the body for sensations. Practices like holding a posture for an extended period of time in a restorative flow or discovering the pulsing, streaming and tingling sensations during a vinyasa flow or paying attention to variations from the right side of the body to the left side of the body during Self-Awakening Yoga Therapeutics are advanced because they require that we pay attention to our more subtle bodies and develop the ability to concentrate.
So if you are ready to advance your yoga practice, you may want to explore the following questions: What type of practice do I resist? What would happen if I face my resistance by doing the opposite of what I usually do? Do I tend to move quickly or hold postures for extended periods of time? What happens when I change the pace of my practice or attend a class that challenges me to speed up or slow down? These are just a few starting points to help you step out of your comfort zone and into a learning zone, deepening and advancing your yoga practice.
Attending an upcoming workshop can help you to advance your practice and discover new edges in yoga and life.
Men’s Health Retreat
Saturday May 6th 1-3:30pm
Sunday May 7th 12:30-3:30pm
Take some time out of your busy schedule to practice yoga and set a clear, balanced direction in your life this Spring. Designed with the modern-man in mind, this experiential retreat will enable you to hit pause amid the busy pace of city living, and shine a light on your own life and goals.
Right Nutrition- The Yoga of Meal Planning
w/Stacey Leung, R.D.
Wednesday May 10th 6:30-8:00pm
Are you ready to discover a guilt-free way of eating that will help you live with energy and vitality… without compromising your waistline? Would you like to dispel false nutrition facts and clarify confusion around what is actually healthy? Look no further. Stacy is leading a FREE healthy meal planning discussion to support your 360˚ yoga lifestyle.
The Future is Female
Saturday May 13th 1-3:00pm
Celebrate the sacred feminine just in time for Mother’s Day! Known for dynamic and intelligent teaching style, Stefanie will invite you to to tap into the power and vulnerability of the divine feminine through a slow-burning flow, long held yin/restorative poses, and pranayama techniques. Stefanie’s passion and skillfulness as a teacher will help you to discover new realms of your practice and your life. Sign up in advance to reserve your spot.