“Go to your edge and hold it there”
You may have heard this in class. Where, exactly is the edge?
There are various ways to describe the edge in a yoga posture – the edge is:
- the point between comfort and discomfort
- where you can hold the posture in stillness and still breathe
- at the sweet sensation of stretch
And you, yes you, are the only one who can really, honestly tell where your edge is. I can guarantee you that your edge is not the same as your neighbour’s edge. Nor is it the same as your best friend’s edge. No two people have the same body – even twins diverge over time – because we all follow slightly different routes and maps along the way. My tight hips are not the same as your tight hips. Not exactly. Mine might look hugely open to you and yet feel like the Tin Man without oil to me.
It may take a while on your yoga journey to identify the edge sensation in the various postures. The identification really involves tuning into your body and letting go of the what the mind thinks should be your edge. Pay attention to the breath in particular as it is a great indicator. Your breath will become very laboured or you may even hold it once past your edge. Also pay attention to any pain flags you may experience…the redflag, no-don’t-go-there type of pain, not the I-don’t-want-to “pain” that the mind creates or the soreness that can arise from working the muscles.
Part of the problem is that the edge is a moving target. Just like no two bodies have the same edge, no two classes produce the same conditions where your body has the exactly the same edge – never the same stretch, never the same depth, not exactly. Which makes it so much more important to tune it each and every time. No autopilot. Make it important enough that when you start class, standing there before pranayama, that you consciously turn off your mind and focus on yourself in the mirror.
Listen to your body.
Open your heart.