As we moved from asana to asana, the teacher wove through our mats and urged us to: “find your edge”, “push to reach your limit”, “ease past your comfort zone”. This is common language in a vinyasa class.
Hearing these suggestions, I realized where I was at – I had no comfort zone. I wasn’t living in a stable place of ease and routine and comfort that I had a need to push beyond. My existence since my son was born had already been past my limit and beyond my edge. I had been struggling to get back to a sense of home, of ease – to find my down dog in the middle of the vinyasa. I had been looking for that slow deep breath of stability in the midst of persevering through effort – that moment of stillness within perpetual movement.
In class that day I wasn’t looking to push further in the effort. I was resistant to the message. I wanted slow, steady, calm, comfortable, expected. I feel at home in a yoga class because it is routine and known to me. I don’t have to think or learn; I can just do and be.
I spent much of my daily life in resistance so I decided to not resist the message, to let go and not let my thoughts about limitations block my movements. I would just do. I would accept the challenge. I would trust that pushing myself, even though I felt like I had nothing more to give, would bring more ease in the end than just going through the motions in a comfortable way, without awareness, distracted by my mind.
I found that as I focused on my body, I got out of my head and my thoughts and into my body. I forgot about the diaper delivery that didn’t come, cleaning up vomit in the middle of the night, and how I struggle to not hold onto resentments in my life and instead focused on the release of tension from my hip in eka pada rajakapotasana (pigeon pose). I noticed where my imbalance was coming from in sirsasana (headstand) and how many breaths I could last before coming down. I felt my bone alignment and struggling flexibility in hanumanasa (splits).
I pushed – I wanted to feel the pain, the release of toxins from my muscles, and breathe it out of my body. I wanted to feel something that wasn’t heartache, frustration or exhaustion. I wanted to feel my own body again, not my body in relation to my child (a wonderful yet binding attachment) – just me. I felt like I needed a physical pummeling. In a good way!
The most profound moment of the class was in savasana (corpse pose) when the teacher massaged my shoulders and head. That healing touch let me know what I was missing. Baby hugs and kisses and tickles are like nothing else – the epitome of sweetness and softness and pure love. But I needed to be kneaded, I needed the tension manipulated out of my body, I needed physical help releasing all that I had been holding onto.
I needed to be challenged to push myself, to be guided out of my head, to be put into savasana and a deep level of rest, and I needed healing touch. I went beyond my beyond and it pulled me back to a place of ease.