Daily lesson from May 9, 2013 (Teach the teacher): “Go to your edge!” How many times have we heard this in class? I stopped counting. And admittedly, stopped listening. The reason? It’s another one of those ubiquitous phrases that just starts to grate after a while. Phrases that too many teachers prattle off in class because they’ve heard it somewhere before, and therefore they oughta pass it on down too, like a hot potato or chain letter.
But here’s the thing. After my weekly meeting with a few awesome teachers at a studio I practice and teach at (YogaSoul) to share/inspire/help/gently point out when we’re starting to sound like Darth Vader while cuing, we landed on the subject of the “edge”. And someone in our group suggested we consider an alternative meaning behind the “go to your edge!” direction. In other words, instead of referring to the “edge” as we typically do – as that point just before face-planting out of an impossible arm balance or passing out from holding our breath too long in Warrior III – how about exploring our edge in the other direction?
Huh? It took me a minute to wrap my head around this one without help from Yoda. But once I did, WOW. I considered what it would mean to stop at a certain point in a pose and stay there, even if my body is able to take a deeper, much deeper variation. For me, and a lot of yogis I know, this is a tougher edge to brush up against than the typical one. For me, I’d rather fly over and land in a heap from a misaligned handstand than simply take a forward fold. But many times my body is better served with a forward fold. When my shoulders are aching from yesterday’s inversion work. When my sleep pattern is disrupted. When I just need a break already.
There’s a saying by one of my favorite yogis (and the tradition I practice and teach in), Baron Baptiste, that lately, I’m not resonating with. The saying is “if you can, you MUST.”
For all the reasons stated above, even if I can, sometimes I musn’t. Because to do so would be ignoring this new, fascinating edge we talked about in our meeting today.
So think about it, yogi friends. Can you go to your other edge? The one your body is begging you for? The one that’s calling for you to back off? Try it and let me know how it feels. May the force be with you!
Namaste and see you in class 🙂