I’m not the type of girl who likes to stand on the edge. Or take chances. Or experiment. Or even simply try something I do not know.
I prefer the seeming safety of the middle ground, the place where everything is familiar and known. I guess it’s often because I’m afraid of falling or perhaps losing control. I don’t mind imploding, mind you, or falling into myself, but outward…oh no. It’s kinda like that fear I had for inversions before…of falling and hurting others that scared me rather than falling and hurting myself. As a result, I try to keep my step inside and lean into the middle, crunching up inwardly so there is less danger of falling out. Or so it seemed.
Today, however, I realized that it isn’t so. Apparently, the more I try to turn in and stay on the inside, the more difficult it is for me to balance and keep control. By stepping on the outer edge, not too much, but just enough, that is where a good foundation lies.
And yeah…like many of my other light bulb moments, this came to me on the mat. This is why I love yoga so much! Getting to understand my physical body has allowed me to get to know my heart and soul in ways I would have never imagined and today was one of those times when, through breaking down the bits and pieces of my asana practice, I found a piece of me that allows me to become a better me.
(As always that has been such a lengthy introduction to what I wanna say! Har. I guess this is really why I do not do research, mwahaha. Random commercial break! Haha. Now back to what I was saying….)
After being away from the mat for quite a while, I got the chance to spend a lot of time on it today. Not only did I get to practice a lot, I had the chance to do a yoga clinic session at Templa Wellness with Francesca Regala and my long time teacher and friend, Dona Tumacder-Esteban. Although I had different plans for my afternoon, I was quite glad to have been invited to their space and to be able to experience what it was like to do a Yoga Clinic. Unlike a typical asana practice, the Yoga Clinic is a more directed and focused thirty minute one-on-one (or if you’re lucky enough to have both these wonderful teachers in one session, a two-on-one teehee) session where your problem areas or concerns are addressed and focused on. It usually runs for three sessions, plus an initial consultation. I promise to write a separate (and more cerebral and objective!) post about the Yoga Clinic in the next few days, but for now, please indulge me with my little bit of randomness for the day.
So back to the yoga clinic…I didn’t really know what my “concern” was when I got there, especially since I’ve been feeling pretty okay lately and that the pain in my shoulder from an injury I sustained from a fall sometime last February had finally gone away. Nonetheless, I recognized that my shoulder, the left one in particular, is what I often tend to have problems with. While chatting with Fran and Dona before the session, I remembered that more than my left shoulder, it is my right ankle that often causes me much pain. So much so that in the beginning of my practice, most poses that required some flexibility, mobility or what not with my ankle would be very painful and almost impossible to do. And so I wrote that down as another problem area.
At the start of the session, Fran had me stand on tadasana and she went around, took a few photos and pointed out her observations about the way I stood, my posture, and the way I aligned my body. While I was glad she pointed out that I automatically corrected my stance on my own because that’s something I have been working on with Dona for quite some time, she was still able to point out a few things that I had very little or no awareness of. Right before the session, I casually said that I had no idea why my ankle often hurt so much and just by having me stand in tadasana and point out how my feet tend to pronate and that I carry most of the weight on the inner edges of my feet. She then pointed out the area where she saw the energy lines getting jammed or stuck and lo and behold, it was the exact spot that really HURTS like crazy! With that simple realization that I need to find the outer edges of my feet by lifting my toes and making some micro adjustments, I felt some form of relief. Kinda like having the blood flow more freely in that area or something. Basta it felt better. We did a couple other things with my down dog and trikonasana and although I won’t say that one session “fixed” my problems, it did give me a new awareness of what I need to be mindful of in my practice and I feel that will make a big difference in the direction by which my practice is going.
It was amazing, to say the least.
After the session, as I accompanied Dona to grab a bite in a convenience store, that light bulb went off in my head. I realized that much like my physical tendency to stand or bear weight on the inner edges of my sole, that is what I do to my soul as well. I tend to take it all in. Hold it all in the inside edge and pray desperately that I keep from toppling over. However, by not distributing the weight and standing on the outer edges, allowing for space to be made, all I end up doing is either falling down or cramping up. And that, my dear, said the little voice in my head, is what you tend to do all too often.
And so tonight, as I head off to bed I remind myself of this: Find the outer edge, Ri. It’s safe there too.
Tomorrow when I step on my mat, I will lift up my toes, find the outer edges of my sole in order to balance on those four corners of my feet. When I step off my mat, I will take that with me too as I try walking on the outer edge while still drawing inward to the self for a change.
Templa Wellness is located at the 5th Floor OPL Building, 100 C. Palanca cor Dela Rosa, Makati City