an important thing that i focus on in yoga class is that sweet space between my comfort zone and my edge. it's easy to kind of relax into a pose when you feel comfortable in it and sometimes we even tend to favor the poses we're good at. when we're guided into another chaturanga or the teacher mentions headstand we tend to panic and wonder if its a good time to escape to the bathroom until the class moves onto the next sequence or asana.
i've so been guilty of this!
so i remind myself as often as my students to find the space between comfort and edge. you may find that you love down dog, but maybe you always come into the pose on your toes and with knees bent. you may settle into it comfortably and stay put until you move into the next pose. but what if you pushed through your heels and lengthened through the back of your knees to activate your hammies?
i used to take my down down with really low hips because i have tightness in my legs. a teacher of mine came behind me and stepped down on my heels. he then grabbed my waist and pulled my hips to the sky. my legs were shaking and my face flushed because i had never experienced down dog this way. i never actually tried to push deeper. whoa! i literally collapsed into a childs pose after, but it was the most amazing experience. i just got introduced to the space between comfort and edge.
when practicing we become very in tune with our bodies. this is what gives us the power to safely push past our comfort zone and reach to our edge. we can sink deeper into forward bends, softly into hip openers and find new ways to experience our fave asanas.
think about this the next time you step onto your mat. make it your mission to find that space. get to know it. visit it often. and take your practice and awareness to the next level.