“Finding your edge” is an expression used in yoga to define a place of balanced tension. The edge is about finding that perfect spot where action and ease meet.
Imagine, you are at the beach and you scoop up a handful of sand, the size of your hand will determine how much stays in the palm. Keeping the sand from spilling takes an open fist, a hand that is active but relaxed. If the hand is too relaxed, you spill the sand everywhere, and if the hand is held too tight, the sand runs through the fingers. The place that holds the most sand is your edge.
On the Yoga Mat:
When I step into Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1) it takes me some time. Usually I will need to adjust my stance. I will step my foot to the front of the mat, pull my body erect and then align my posture where it feels secure and comfortable. I find the place that allows me to build tension and simultaneously feel secure in the pose.
If I don’t take time to adjust the posture, my knee gets tight and builds up with pressure. If I ignore my body’s message for adjustment then I stand the chance of blowing out my knee.
Our body gives us subtle and intense cues for how far to take our next action or step. When and if we ignore those cues, we run the risk of injuring ourselves.
Finding my edge off the yoga mat takes a little more attention. On the mat I can physically feel pain if I push too hard. I know I might hurt myself, so I’m more likely to pull back.
In life, pushing is more of an emotional pinch or pressure. This kind of pain has become socially acceptable, like stress, anxiety, or overworking which makes it easier to ignore.
When I feel the tight fingers of anxiety grabbing at my chest, or a dull lethargic energy throughout the day, I know I’m pushing myself too hard.
For instance, as part of a marketing approach for my life coaching business I decided to offer free lectures. These lectures would help get the word out about what my coaching could offer.
I decided to use a lecture platform because I wanted to overcome my fear of public speaking and gain experience in front of a room.
My first lecture was set and I was nervous. As time led up to the event I convinced myself that I was fine. I could do anything I set my mind to. I prepared, I had my outline and I practiced. I felt confident.
The evening arrived. I was holding the lecture after hours at my family’s deli in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. To my surprise a group of at least thirty of my family and friends came out to support me, as well as two strangers. (I am very blessed to have such a strong support group.)
As individuals and small groups filled the deli I found myself mingling and keeping distracted from what I was there to do, speak. The mingling temporarily was keeping anxiety away.
Finally, I walked to front of the deli. Standing behind a high top table for a podium with my back facing the front window, my audience was spread out in front of me. Up close I had friends at low top tables, looking up at me eagerly. In back I saw familiar faces hovering over high tops.
As I looked around I felt both blessed and completely freaked out.
With a deep breath, I began to introduce myself, “Good evening everyone, thank you so much for being here…” I panicked! I couldn’t remember my name let alone that I was giving a lecture on The Creative Nature of the Mind.
Thankfully, I had the entire lecture written out and I was able to read from my notes.
To sum it up I made it through the lecture and I learned a valuable lesson.
I pushed myself too far past my edge. Where could I take action with ease and still be productive and build my confidence for public speaking?
The truth is my edge then was standing in front of a mirror and giving the lecture to myself. A part of me was embarrassed to admit that was my edge, and so I pushed, and I cracked.
Today my edge is speaking in front of 1-6 people. A small group still creates some tension for me, but not so much that I close off. There is just enough tension to build strength anymore tension and I run the risk of cracking or scaring myself out of building something good.
Working with your edge brings you closer to the vision of where you want to be. By remaining open in your action you allow yourself to receive what it is you’re working toward both on and off the yoga mat!