Exploring the Edges: Embracing Growth and Transformation

growth spiritual transformation yoga May 24, 2024

In both yoga and life, finding and navigating the edge is essential for growth.

But what is an edge?

You may have heard this in your yoga class, especially in a yin yoga class. The edge represents the boundary of our comfort zone, the point at which we challenge our limits, and the place where true transformation occurs. The edge is also where our fear lives. As Bernie Clark says, "If fear prevents you from playing your edge, that same fear is preventing you from learning, from progressing, from developing your full potential, including full health."

We have different edges - physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual. Life is a journey of continuous growth and navigating our edges. This is essential for transformation. Each type of edge presents unique challenges and opportunities for development. By understanding how to work with these edges, we can cultivate a more holistic approach to personal growth. To work with your edges means that we never force an edge. We honor the boundaries of the edge. Sometimes we can feel safe and empowered to push the edge for the sake of growth and transformation, and sometimes the wisest thing to do is to pull back from the edge.

So, what are these edges exactly, and how can we work with them for growth and transformation?



The physical edge refers to the boundary of our physical capabilities, where we challenge our body's limits through exercise, movement, and endurance. The body talks, and we should listen. Some stress on the body is good. Stressing our body through weight training build muscle and bone mass. Stressing our body with weight bearing activities, such as walking, standing, and running, also builds muscle mass and bone mass. But this requires awareness. Awareness of the messages of the body. It also requires intention. The intention of building strength and resiliency, and not hurting the physical body.

In Yoga:

In yoga, the physical edge is the point where we feel a deep stretch or exertion without pain. It’s where we push our body just enough to build strength, flexibility, and resilience.

  • Example: Holding a challenging pose like Plank or Warrior II for a few extra breaths, feeling the muscles engage intensely but maintaining control and proper alignment.

In Life:

Off the mat, we can work with the physical edge by pushing our limits through activities like running, weightlifting, or any form of exercise. It's about improving stamina, strength, and overall health.

  • Example: Training for a marathon, gradually increasing the distance you run each week to enhance endurance and mental toughness.

Benefits of Working with the Physical Edge:

  • Enhanced physical health and fitness
  • Increased body awareness and confidence
  • Improved resilience and determination





The psychological edge is the boundary of our mental capacities, where we challenge our cognitive abilities and mental resilience.

In Yoga:

In yoga, the psychological edge is about focusing the mind and overcoming mental barriers during practice. It involves maintaining concentration and composure in challenging poses.

  • Example: Staying focused and calm during a long meditation session despite distractions and mental chatter.

In Life:

Challenging yourself intellectually by learning new skills, solving complex problems, or stepping into mentally demanding roles.

  • Example: Taking on a leadership position at work, requiring strategic thinking and decision-making under pressure.

Benefits of Working with the Psychological Edge:

  • Sharpened cognitive abilities and problem-solving skills
  • Increased mental resilience and adaptability
  • Greater confidence in facing and overcoming challenges





The emotional edge is the boundary of our emotional comfort zone, where we confront and manage intense feelings and emotional experiences.

In Yoga:

Yoga helps us explore the emotional edge by creating a safe space to experience and process emotions that arise during practice. It encourages self-compassion and emotional release.

  • Example: Feeling a surge of emotions in a heart-opening pose like Camel and allowing ourselves to experience and release these emotions without judgment.

In Life:

Facing and expressing emotions honestly, whether in personal relationships, during therapy, or through creative outlets.

  • Example: Having a difficult conversation with a loved one, expressing vulnerability and working through emotional pain to achieve deeper understanding and connection.

Benefits of Working with the Emotional Edge:

  • Greater emotional intelligence and regulation
  • Deeper self-awareness and empathy
  • Improved relationships and emotional resilience





The spiritual edge is the boundary of our spiritual understanding and connection, where we seek deeper meaning, purpose, and connection with something greater than ourselves.

In Yoga:

In yoga, the spiritual edge involves connecting with the inner self and the larger universe. It’s about transcending the physical practice and tapping into deeper states of consciousness and spiritual awareness.

  • Example: Experiencing a profound sense of unity and peace during meditation or in Savasana (Corpse Pose), feeling connected to a higher power or universal energy.

In Life:

Exploring spirituality through practices such as meditation, prayer, mindfulness, or engaging in spiritual communities and rituals.

  • Example: Attending a silent meditation retreat to deepen your understanding of self and the universe, or exploring different spiritual philosophies and practices to find what resonates with you.

Benefits of working with the Spiritual Edge:

  • Increased sense of purpose and meaning
  • Deeper connection with self and others
  • Enhanced sense of peace, contentment, and fulfillment


The edges we encounter in yoga and life are not barriers but opportunities for profound growth and transformation. By understanding and embracing the physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual edges, we can cultivate a more balanced, fulfilling, and enlightened existence. So, step to the edge, breathe deeply, and be open to your experience. The edge is not always something to be pushed. We never force an edge. We work with the edges. Some days, we feel and know that we can push a little further. Other days, we honor the need to pull back from the edge. Some days, we might stay right where we are. But a knowledge of the edges, what they are and how to work with them can help us all to embrace the journey of growth and self-discovery.



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