Losing my edge

I’ve had a couple of class sessions this week in which I’ve been testing some of my understanding about my edge. I’ve prided myself recently in considering myself a Level-II practitioner, but to be perfectly honest there are parts of my practice that are Level I and others that are even less, as I’ve mentioned here before. I can “double-dip” (do a full push-up during my Sun Salutation vinyasa) and keep one-leg up in my Chaturanga Dandasana and think I’m going great. But at the same time, my balance poses have barely progressed since I started yoga. Some of these obstacles in my practice are deeply rooted in my musculature. My arm “strength” may actually hide a deeper problem in my shoulders’ flexibility.

Because of this uneven quality, I’ve have a hard time focusing on my edge because it shifts constantly as I move through different poses. By nature, an edge is dynamic and fluid any ways so I am doubly challenged. I can be breezing along and then hit a rough patch, like riding a bike and suddenly hitting deep mud on the path). In some cases, I am actually fighting against my own muscles. I want to power my way through through the resistance. No wonder I expend a lot of energy and end up being really tired. “Ease and grace” would not describe my practice when I am trapped in this kind of negative flow.

As I’ve stated before, I sense that I have to slow myself down to avoid overrunning my edge, focus inwardly to center my awareness on what is happening now, and be really faithful to the pacing of my breath. It means practicing truthfulness fearlessly, rather than operating under false assumptions about what my yoga and my life should be like.

I did a Flow II class with Angela Cerkevich at Flow Yoga. I tried to slow down intentionally and focus inwardly on what was happening inside me. It was disconcerting because I found myself frequently out of sync with the class. I lost track of my breathing and even time itself because the class seemed to flash by quickly.

Wednesday evening, I took in a vinyasa flow all-levels class with Lisa Johnson at Thrive Yoga. She was video recording the class as part of her requirements for Anusara certification so she was zeroing in on good, solid form in alignment and getting the basics right. It made for a really slowly-paced class, which was what I wanted anyways. I think I did a good job of matching my breath with the class and did not get ahead of my breath. One thing that Lisa mentioned really struck a nerve with me: fear cause psoas muscles to tighten (shorten) up; a good way to counterbalance is to hollow the lower abdomen to allow more room for the psoas to lengthen above the hips.