yoga blog

Welcome to the Edge

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What is the edge?  The edge is a precipice between one place and another.  The boundary between what is and what could be.  The experience of the edge is often characterized by intensity and extremes. The edge is a place of unknowns and risk, and a place where there is very little clear direction about the next step. It is the space of transition which often leads us to be both excited and afraid. Hopeful for the movement to the next place, and simultaneously terrified about leaving the comfort of the familiar. It seems that we find ourselves on the edge often in our lives.  It can emerge during big shifts like the edge of a career or the edge of relationship, but it can also happen with something as seemingly insignificant as the edge of a choice.

It is an intense place to occupy, and often we express that we feel frozen, stuck, unclear, and without direction.  So, to stay “safe”, we prolong the process, and hold fast to the familiar and comfortable.  We begin to develop a fear and mistrust about the space between, when in truth it is the space of pure potential. This space just outside of the familiar is where we learn to TRUST, to understand that it is all about us, but it is so much bigger than us.  The less we cling, the more we can feel supported to make the choices that will lead us to greatest ease on our path. Once we step out into the unknown, the next phase of our lives opens to us. But that first step, for most of us, is the hardest one.

The choice to leave the familiar for what is right or good for our life takes a warrior’s heart.  When we take that initial step into the unknown and in doing so, we open a path straight to our center.  For so many of us, this is scary.  We’ve invested so much time and energy into becoming  that we have forgotten our own true being, the unchanging, purposeful, power within.  

It is here at the edge of a quiet moment, or a dramatic life change, where we have a choice. We choose to step out into the unknown away from comfort because we sense it will bring us closer to who we really are. Taking this step will bring us closer to who we are becoming.

Friends and family may think we are crazy.  Our colleagues might question our sanity.  But when we make the choice to honor the call home to ourselves, we become courageous warriors and we feel aligned.  The doubt and fears that we once had don’t disappear, but they begin to ttake a backseat to the hope, excitement, and knowing that surface when you step over the edge. We may do unexpected things like quit our jobs or leave a relationship.  We might become unpredictable and spontaneous and go back to school or become a yoga teacher.  We might allow our true selves to show up in ways that we never allowed before by falling in love or planting seeds in the ground. Regardless of the way your choice will manifest, the edge that we surf is terrifying and exhilarating, and entirely worth it.
 

If you find yourself at this edge, welcome. You are not alone, you are among good strong faithly company. Together we are stepping over the edge and supporting one another as we wake up, feel more authentically, dive into practice, and make choices that will change our lives and in doing so change our world.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Establish yourself in TRUST.  Trust in the process, trust in yourself, your inner voice, your preparation.  Remember YOU are the point.

  2. Be cautious about leaning too much into faith.  Faith requires us to cultivate belief whereas TRUST requires no believing, it is belief itself.  When we TRUST, outside evidence becomes an added bonus instead of the needed proof.

  3. When you are in the intensity of the edge, the only practice is to keep going.  Focus all your energy in what you know is true. Keep going, even if you are tip-toeing.  Keep showing up to whatever is offered.

  4. Be in relationship with your inner voice.  Do a practice every day that tunes you into YOU.  Your inner guidance, your truth. Don’t worry about what anyone else says, inhabiting the edge is ALL about YOU.

  5. Don’t wait for Perfection. The desire for things to be perfect in order to make choices is a way we orient ourselves to what’s right/wrong, good/bad.   So when we have no orientation, the absolute definition of the edge,  we feel that it’s imperfect and something is wrong. Act from your gut instead of from proof.

  6. Be fully engaged in the process.  It’s the process itself that is the point, so don’t disregard it in an effort to escape discomfort.

  7. Choose growth.  When things are most challenging or confusing, see these experiences as an opportunity to refine and grow.  Riding the edge is an opportunity to become more mature in our efforts.  Apply your intelligence to your experience.  Slow down, invite presence, feel your emotions, and watch how you evolve.

  8. Be gentle with yourself.  The edge is scary.  It’s a difficult place to be.  It’s exciting and full of potential, but often without clear and predictable outcome.  If you find yourself seeking old comforts, or feeling discouraged, it’s ok.  Be accepting of your humanness and recalibrate your efforts.

  9. And lastly, take care of yourself. The edge is hard and you will likely be questioned rather than supported. Show up for yourself like you wish others would show up for you in these times.

If you are ready to step over the edge and are seeking a support consider joining us for one of our many 200/300/500 Hr Yoga Teacher Trainings.

Where Do You Go To Come Home?

I travel a lot.  Not as much as the well dressed suits that I constantly share space and time with at the various airports that I pass through, but a lot still.  I catch a flight, hang out at 40,000 feet, then when the wheels touch down, I hit the ground running preparing, supporting, collaborating, and teaching.  I work 12-14 hour days focused on the work I love, connecting with amazing people, and deepening my own understanding of the transformational power of this practice.  Sometimes I am moving around so much, that I feel my life spinning around me without my full attention or investment of time and presence.  Taking a break is required for me to come back to myself.  I do this every day on my meditation cushion and my yoga mat, but from time to time, I need more than just a brief pause in the middle of the whirlwind of my life, sometimes I need to completely recalibrate and reconnect with that little whisper of truth inside.

 

Ironically, I return to myself most fully through travel.  Not the movement from location to location, teaching and sharing, but the process of leaving behind the familiar and journeying to a new landscape, a different culture.  I find that the ability to see my life with greater clarity and perspective often comes as a result of stepping out of the day to day.  When I return from my short excursions, I return more full, more balanced, more settled inside.  It’s a great paradox that the result of this type of movement is stillness, but it’s true.  You can’t force this steadiness, you can’t get to it through the perfect eka pada rajakapotansana, or through the strongest chanturanga dandasana. Steadiness comes with deeper and deeper layers of ease being realized, and for many of us, our Yoga practice is all about effort instead of ease, ultimately pushing us farther and farther away from the essence of what Yoga is meant to be.

 

If what you are seeking through Yoga is a greater connection with yourself, then it’s worth it to look at your approach.  You see, Yoga was never meant to be a workout.  The purpose of Yoga prior to becoming mainstream America’s fitness craze was never to change your body. The purpose of Yoga has always been to become embodied. The origin of the word embody expresses the essence of the “soul or spirit contained within form.” When our spirit is fully alive within the container of our bodies, when we are functioning on all levels of mind, heart, spirit, and form, then Yoga becomes what we are instead of what we practice. For me, this total enlivening of the senses and the body, along with the opening of the heart and mind, comes through the experience of what is outside of the normal grind of my day to day life.  When I travel, there are new sounds, smells, new ways to look at the world and most especially new ways to see myself.  Through this exploration of the world, I become more intimate with my truth.

 

For me, it can be a week away in deep study with my teachers, or just an adventure somewhere in the world.  The opportunity to reconnect doesn’t require a specific formula.  I can fly to Colorado to receive deep teachings on Sri Vidya Tantra, or I can spend my nights with doors open to the sound of the Aegean sea and my days in exploration of form and movement.  I can watch the sunset in the French countryside with a bottle of Rose and a good friend, or I can explore the crowded streets in South America looking for coconut ice cream.  All forms of the exploration bring me home to myself. All of this brings me back to the Yoga that is my natural state of existence, so when I return home to my mat and my cushion, instead of seeking that place inside, I am coming from it.  And my practice and my life are all the better for it.

 

This is my method, and your’s may be completely different, but no matter what, I encourage you to take the time to step out of the grind, and maybe even leave your mat behind for a day or two.  Find the experience of Yoga that is the essence of your soul, and let it inform all aspects of your life.  

The World Doesn’t Need More Yoga Teachers

The world is full of “Yoga Teachers.”  Wonderful people with a wonderful skillset to help you refine your alignment in downward facing dog or get buff in boat pose. Yoga Teacher Trainings that drill the architecture or a pose or the choreography of a flow, but our classes, whether intended or not, also make an enormous impact on our healing.  Miraculously, in addition to helping us stay fit and calm, the practice of yoga also helps us to relieve pain and suffering.  The average Yoga teacher today may be supporting the healing of others through sharing this practice, but they may not even know.  Why are the classes designed to keep our bodies healthy making such an impact on our overall wellbeing?  The answer is simple: the practice makes us come alive.