Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How do I move my edge forward so I'm always pushing myself?

I had a friend email me the other day after I wrote the post about looking over your edge but not jumping off of it.

You might have to take a running leap off your emotional or mental edge to make change, like getting to class in the first place.
He asked to some extent, "What about moving your edge, so you are always pushing yourself?" Another friend asked something like "What about re-evaluating your boundaries and deciding if you want to move your edge?"

I thought those were good questions. And I think they have the same answer.

If you practice the right way, your edge moves itself.

But you have to pay attention. And have grace for where the edge is. And test it. Is it your mental edge or your physical edge? You have to push against it to see if you have more to give. You must not judge where your edge is compared to where it was yesterday. Your job is just to walk forward, every day, to your edge.

That's part of the compassionate choice. That's part of listening. You will NOT make improvements every day.

You will make improvements over time. The body changes every day according to how much sleep its had, what kind of food its had, how much it stretched or worked the day before.

That's why in weight lifting, you take days off of body parts while they heal and grow.

In yoga, your body becomes MUCH more flexible over time. In fact, tonight, I surprised myself by putting my face on the floor for the first time ever in a certain posture. Ive been practicing diligently for about two years.

Over time, if I came to my edge with diligence and patience, every single day, my edge moved. Overall, my face was closer to the floor. But day to day, in this posture, my edge was a good eight inches away from where I'd been the night before in practice. Sometimes it would stay that way for a week.

Once you are there, it will feel more like this every day. Walk willingly to the physical edge. Have grace for wherever that edge is today. 
Sometimes, I'd have weeks where I was a millimeter closer every day for a week, and then suddenly be able to go several inches further, followed immediately by a class where everything felt tighter.

If I fought the process, I frustrated myself. If I had grace and patience for the process, and just made the commitment to go to my physical max every single time I practiced, over all, the result was hugely positive.

If you practice the right way, that is by dedicating all of your effort to practicing well and correctly, rather than practicing through a prideful place, you will be far less likely to get injured, you will be much more likely to get amazing depth in your practice, and your practice becomes singularly about you and where you are in your body on that day. You have grace for your own becoming, and with that grace, you grow faster.

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