Monday, October 18, 2010

Explore The Edge (Your Edge): The Wisdom of Yoga

I used to attend yoga classes all the time. Then my leg got smashed up and it took a while (years!) for me to recover. I still have bad pain in my leg.

But the other day, I saw on Facebook (via posted video) that a college peer of mine had gotten way into yoga and she looked amazing. So good. I realized that I had been doing myself a disservice by staying away from yoga classes. I realized that I could get back some of that lithe glow I'd been missing by hitting the mat again.

I had been telling myself that I couldn't or shouldn't go to yoga class because my balance was off (I used to have rather amazing balance, a wonderful ability to find my driste), or that I might experience those horrible shooting pains in my shinbone that I seem to get at the most inopportune moments. I didn't want to spend hours in class anymore (they are long classes). I told myself I wanted to be outside.

The excuses were tremendous. Finally, this morning, I stopped making these lame excuses and dragged my rear end to yoga class.  It was "slow flow," with a rather unconventional teacher whom I like personally but don't always love in class because she jumps around and changes her mind frequently, and the classroom setup can be strange. 

Today, for example, I got there a few minutes late, and I ended up in an odd spot, facing another woman but yet unable to watch the teacher or even myself in the mirror. I got a little bit mixed up because I couldn't see the poses the teacher was trying to explain (and she wasn't doing them herself, and also, I was rusty).

But the point is, even though the class and my own performance wasn't perfect, I felt better after going. I realized that excuses do not excuse me from doing something good for myself. 

Here's what I want to say about yoga:

Yoga in the U.S. is most often looked upon as a stretching exercise, but it is so much more than that. It is centering. It is spiritual, too. It can change your opinion of yourself. Yoga can alter the way you treat your own body...for the better.

Just when you think you can't do something in yoga, but you keep trying, it suddenly comes to you. The mind and the body open up, and the changes come quickly and suddenly, just when you need them most.

I have said before that nothing stills the mind (for me) like a good vinyasa class. I believe this is true. The mind chatter has to stop sometime, for at least an hour.  Yoga is a tool for meditation; it is meditation in motion. 

The good it can do can hardly be quantified. What I know now is that I will be back in class soon, and I will rededicate myself to yoga.

My teacher today told us all to "explore the edge," and again, I thought, wow. I always learn something in yoga, something that applies to the rest of my life, as well.

I will be exploring the edge today, and I hope that other people will do the same. This means to push yourself (but not too far) in order to reap unexpected benefits.


  1. You've inspired me to finally give it a try!

  2. Good...try all kinds of yoga. I can't say that I have a favorite school or style (though I don't like being hot, so hot yoga is not for me, probably).