Monday, February 1, 2010

Befriending Our Edge

Our yoga mat is the perfect place to explore the full potential—and the limitations--of our capacity. Our edge is that place that allows us to learn: if we hang out too far in front of our edge, we don’t grow to our full capacity. If we go too far past our edge, however, we risk injuring ourselves and others. Let’s face it, it’s just not sustainable to constantly spread ourselves too thin.

What a delicate dance to find that line, especially when it’s always shifting. Our edge looks different when we are twenty then it does when we are forty, different when we are comfortable in a familiar job than it does when we’ve just started a new one. Our yoga practice, as I’ve noted elsewhere in my blog, is a perfect place to learn our edge.

But the deeper we embrace the dance, the more we discover about our edge. It’s like a good novel, replete with layers of nuance. See, it’s not just knowing our edge in the moment of practice (like when we are in Natarajasana and choose not to extend our leg any further), it’s also seeing the big picture, like whether our muscles will be screaming the next day. For instance, in my own life, I honored my edge very well last semester when I came up with lots of interesting ideas, but I am finding my edge sorely tested this semester as all my great ideas come to fruition and I have to carry them out.

Befriending our edge, then, also involves choosing how we will meet the challenges on our plate. I may not have much choice about whether I will honor my commitments, but I can choose how I will do so. In these tough economic times, people may not be able to choose how many jobs they need to hold to make ends meet (if they are lucky enough to have jobs) or whether to assume the responsibility for caring for an elderly parent. But we can choose how we treat ourselves and others as we navigate those responsibilities.

I am learning that coming back to my foundation—both on my mat and off—is what allows me to engage the dance with grace and beauty. When I practice clear alignment principles, I know that however deep I go in a pose, I can do so in a healthy way. We can cultivate the same solid foundations in our lives off our mats.

No comments:

Post a Comment