Do we hold on at the edge or let go and dive into it? What do you notice about your triggers or conditioned responses at your personal edge on or off the mat? Discover equanimity this fall by using practices of mindfulness meditation and yin simply by being with yourself in stillness. Discover what IS actually happening inside of you to show up as your most aligned self in this one precious moment and life.
Many of my recent posts have been about this deep transformational process which I recently studied through Phoenix Rising School of Yoga Therapy. One of the phases of this deeply transformational work is referred to as exploring “the edge.” We explore and get to know the edge during a yoga therapy session. But what is the proverbial edge?
The edge is that place in a pose that one experiences sensations in a longer held stretch as that “just right” place of not too much and not too little sensation. Once the edge is found, the practice is to stay with those sensations with curiosity and remain in stillness. Connecting to acceptance of what is arising and letting it be.
Letting it be? Yes, let it be. We begin to practice and sink ourselves and ego into that idea of letting go of that need to fix anything about the experience. Sounds like life, right? Practice not changing the situation takes effort, right? At the edge of swirling emotions, how do you practice self-care?
“Whatever leads us to our edge, to our outer limits, leads us to the heart of life’s mystery, and there we find faith. In the process, however, we may have to confront old habits."
- Sharon Salzberg
When we sit in a pose and sensations arise in yoga therapy or yin, we SEE our pain, whether mental or physical, as a single, solid, and unyielding. It may seem almost impossible to sit with it all because sensations can arise physically, emotionally, or mentally. When we try to fight this internal or external situational “enemy,” there can be a feeling of complete overwhelm or collapse, and stuckness, like being caught in the wave of reaction. However, we can learn to see what is happening and choose differently by adding mindfulness to our edges on or off of the mat.
Through the inhales and exhales there is a waking up into what is and instead of viewing the pain or discomfort as static or solid, it becomes more workable. The physical sensation in a pose could be felt as just “throbbing or tingling.” Emotional upset such as anger can have more depth, for ie; fear living underneath it more so than the anger itself. When we start to embrace these sensations with mindfulness of breath and curiosity, they become more alive and malleable.
At the edge, we can feel them move through us instead of becoming stuck in them. We also have the opportunity to learn to trust the breath and land our minds and hearts on the body inhaling and exhaling, our home base in the truest sense, right there at the edge of it all. Instead of feeling overcome by the waves of emotions and label ourselves and others as bad, we can rest in the wall of pain, and turn towards hope at the edge, and know that one thing we can count on is change.
Transformation happens at the edge of our life. When we practice on the mat it is simply a microcosm of our universe. It’s a laboratory to get curious about life experiences through the sensations in the body right now.
Transformation happens within when our relationship to what is happening changes. For me, it was found in this broad sense of opening up rather than shutting down. With mindfulness, letting go of what is happening and remaining open is truly the work. Somehow, suffering and discomfort grow into deep faith. Deep faith allows for trusting that this moment is enough and you are where you need to be, at this moment.
When was the last time you took a deep breath and really listened to your body? Do you know how to tune into your body to access the wisdom it holds? What does your body have to say and how does it translate to the change you want in life? Let me guide you through the process in a personalized yoga therapy session!
Integration Tip: Notice what is happening in your current experience. Is there a prominent feeling tone? How are your thoughts? Are they serving you? Bring your full attention onto the next inhale, breathe in for a count of four, exhale for a count of four. Do this for a few rounds. Notice if the challenging feelings have lessened. Perhaps journal about what is showing up for you.
Explore Mindfulness + Yin Yoga and “the edge” through the yogic koshas (layers of our being) on Sundays at 7:45 pm.
With gratitude and love,
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