In tonight's yoga class my teacher talked about playing our edge. I've been contemplating this idea for some time actually. What exactly does playing the edge mean? From the aspect of the asana practice playing the edge may mean attempting plow pose even though I hate it. While playing the edge tonight I realized that when I play my edge the natural tendency for me is to judge myself. "I suck as a yogi because I can't even do plow pose" is the thought I caught myself thinking tonight.
Interesting things happen when we "play our edge". There's always that challenge of finding the balance between playing the edge and pushing (which I also tend to do). There you are in side angle pose with your forearm on your knee when the teacher gives you the option to lower your hand onto the floor. Okay, you play the edge. You try it. You lower your hand to the floor. Maybe it's good and you stay there or maybe it's too much, you're pushing so you put your forearm back on your knee. That's playing the edge.
What about playing the edge off the mat? What does that look like? There too, we need to find the balance between playing the edge and pushing too much. What's your natural tendency? Do you push and force your way through life or do you just slide by? Maybe you oscillate between the two. I'm an oscillator. Sometimes I find myself pushing and pushing trying to force things to be a certain way and other times I shrink into myself and I have to fight the urge not to hide under the covers forever.
Where I find playing the edge most challenging is finding the balance between self-confidence and ego. Playing the edge means moving out of the comfort zone. There is a difference between stepping out of your comfort zone and bulldozing through it. That's the edge I'm playing right now. Sometimes it's a graceful step and sometimes I'm bulldozing. I'm stepping gracefully when I remember that speaking my mind is okay as long as I'm coming from my heart. I'm bulldozing when I'm coming from my ego and I shoot my mouth off.
I'm gracefully playing the edge when I stand up for something I believe in. I'm bulldozing the edge and pushing too hard when I try to force my views on someone else. The tricky part about playing the edge is that it moves and changes. It requires conscious choices.
I feel like I'm playing my edge every time I teach a class. That edge seems to be changing a bit for me. I'm feeling more confident as a teacher. I'm finally no longer apologizing for not being Shiva Das when I sub his class. I'm realizing that it's okay to just be me. I'm not sure when or how the edge shifted but it has shifted for sure. Once again, I now have to play a new edge. I'm getting the feeling the new edge means that I need to learn to speak my mind and stand up for what I believe in, the challenge is to do that without causing harm to anyone else.
I played my edge tonight. I tried plow pose instead of taking the easier option of bridge. I also spoke my mind in person instead of taking the easier option of email. Did I find balance or did I push too much? Did I step gracefully out of the comfort zone or did I bulldoze? My hope is that I stepped gracefully. Was my ego behind it or was I just playing the edge? Maybe a little of both? Life is a balancing act. There's always a lesson. The good thing is that that if we don't get it right the first time there will be another opportunity to try again and again until we get it right.
I'm thinking of a poem that I love called "Our Deepest Fear". "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?.......
Play your edge but do it consciously and with grace. You are powerful beyond measure. Really, you are...