Baron Baptiste's fourth principle for stepping up to the edge is similar to the third in that it also involves stepping outside your comfort zone.
Exceeding yourself to find your exceeding self is about pushing beyond your perceived limits. Particularly when you are at that point where you feel like you have approached failure. Exceeding yourself is going past what you believe to be as far as you can go. I like to think of it as is the last 10% in giving 110%.
A few months ago I started CrossFit. In the beginning, I was uncertain about lifting and fearful of super-sized upper traps. So what was the draw? If you have to ask, you've clearly never seen a CrossFit guy with his shirt off. Ok, ok, that's a joke (err, kind of)...there were other reasons. I was seeking an out of the Charleston Power Yoga comfort zone experience to kick my workout routine up a notch to achieve measurable gains in both strength and endurance (hello, mastering new arm balances and inversions!). When I was given the opportunity to teach yoga to the hardworking athletes of Iron Bridge CrossFit, I knew it was time to step outside (inside?) the box and give CrossFit the old college try.
I quickly grew to love the constant variation. There are many, many lifts, movements, elements, etc. in CrossFit which means boredom is never an issue, but there is sturdy learning curve while integrating into the program. The first few months were mainly about figuring it out how things worked. I was working hard, but I was never hitting my max. Part of not hitting that max had something to do with gaining the acute awareness one must develop to execute proper, safe form and alignment, but a larger part of not getting there was about my perception of what I saw as my limit and where I would only achieve failure.
In the past couple weeks, I experienced a shift as many of the movements started to land in my body. And also when one of the coaches
insulted described my efforts as dainty. Dainty? Pshhh. I'm not dainty. Feminine? Yes. Graceful? I try. Workout outfits carefully styled? Definitely. Fine, maybe that translates to dainty in a gym where the soundtrack is a mix of grunts and heavy metal. So Coach CrossFit suggests that perhaps I can be a little more "gung ho." After an eye roll and analysis of what that meant, I decided to take this as direction to be more powerful and to stop holding back. I was giving 100%, but not 110%. And that extra 10% is where the growth begins, my friends. During that day's workout, I focused on maximizing my effort. As I powered through, completing the final reps that I didn't think I had in me, I saw the possibility of where I could go. I had exceeded myself as I moved past the point of perceived failure.
I intentionally used an off-the-mat experience of this principle as a reminder that your yoga does not begin and end on your mat. We tend to be the same on our mats as we are in our lives whether we realize it or not. So as you take to your mat this week, commit to challenging yourself to grow in at least on posture in your practice -- maybe one that you find easy and can learn to take to the next level. Dedicate to exceeding yourself on the mat, and the practice will naturally flow over into all areas of your life.
See you on the mat,
See you on the mat,