22 Feb Beyond Limitations
Recognizing Limitations as a Foundation to go Beyond Them
In yoga it’s very popular to say “push your edge”. The concept of always pushing ourselves to go beyond what we now know or are used to is necessary, I’ve found, for a truly happy life. Being able to reach goals and check off accomplishments boosts my sense of self worth and helps me to feel fulfilled at the end of the day.
There are always times when we need to pull back a bit though. Life is ever changing. Recently I changed my day job and now work at a place that promotes personal health and provides work out opportunities. That coupled with a renewed push in my personal asana practice has taken me a little past my edge physically.
My right knee has been sore at regular intervals over the past decade. With my pushing recently I’ve aggravated it and if I move it the wrong way it gives me a little sharp pain to let me know. With this comes the need for more rest, checking my diet to make sure I’m getting enough nutritious food, and checking in with what I’m doing physically that may have caused this to happen and adjust accordingly.
So everyone’s edge is different, and we each have different obstacles and considerations, unique to us.
In yoga today, the concentration seems to be on the physical practice. Even when teachers touch on other aspects of student’s being, the main focus is on the poses. I’ve been to classes where the teacher says something along the lines of “You’ll get there, just keep pushing.” Meaning everyone can get to a certain pose if they just keep trying, and only their lack of pushing through will stop them. I don’t think teachers of this mindset consciously think that those who don’t make it to a certain variation of a pose have chosen not to. But it’s the logical implication of that kind of emphasis.
Not everyone can bend forward as well as others. There are poses some people shouldn’t do because of certain physical conditions that exist in their body. Pushing the edge can be about our mental or emotional states as well. And that edge is always subjective.
I’ve noticed, as my physical practice has grown and I’m able to get into certain poses deeper than I use to, that I’ve had to remind myself that some of my students are still back where I was a few years ago. Keeping that in mind is crucial for me to be a good teacher and to do no harm. And I’ll never say (hopefully) anything like “Keep pushing, you’ll get there.”
Yoga is about personal transformation, and that should be shown in how we deal with life and treat others. It has nothing to do with doing a headstand on a sidewalk, or a great rendition of dancer in the middle of the street. It has nothing to do with the poses, outside of us personally moving forward, and striving for improvement.
It has everything to do with pushing for a better you today than you were yesterday. And that is an ever changing thing.
So what are you doing today to improve your self? What can you do to push yourself to be a better person tomorrow?
May we all be open and receptive to our highest good,
Yoga blocks are extremely useful during practice in poses like triangle and high lunge twist.