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Holding the Edge: The Yoga of Eating

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Holding the Edge: The Yoga of Eating

I have a yoga mat made by a company called “holding.” It refers to a key concept in yoga: when we arrive at a difficult posture, one that causes discomfort, we stop carefully and notice it. We don’t react by flinching or jerking back, but we don’t shove forward either. We bring awareness to the physical (and mental, and emotional) sensations we’re experiencing in that posture. If there is physical pain, we carefully back out of the posture. Otherwise, we relax into it, breathe deeply and dance along the edge of discomfort.

It’s also called “riding the edge” in surfing and other sports, or “dancing on the edge,” which accurately portrays the practice of moving forward and back along the rim of discomfort. And there is great wisdom at the edge. It teaches us not only what we’re capable of physically, but also what our patterns of reactions are, mentally and emotionally.

In the face of discomfort, what arises? Fear, anger, judgment? And what’s our natural tendency–to ignore the sensations and shove blindly forward, thus risking pain and injury? Or do we run away from the difficulty, missing an opportunity to grow and advance?

This concept of holding the edge–neither forcing nor holding back–applies to most other areas of our lives. Relationships are best served if we show up fully and completely, not holding back but not forcing what can’t be forced. Successful careers are built on the concept of giving it your all, while not shoving forward into uncontrollable circumstances. And it applies to our food lives.

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Read more: Exercises, Food, Health, Inspired Eating, Mental Wellness, Yoga,

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Lisa Turner

Lisa Turner is a food writer, intuitive eating coach, and nutrition consultant in Boulder, Colorado. In her consulting practice Lisa combines her training and degrees in nutrition, mind-body practices and Food Psychology, to help clients explore both what to eat and why they eat. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, visit InspiredEating.com. Lisa is also the developer of The Healthy Gourmet iPhone recipe app; for more information, visit TheHealthyGourmet.net.

68 comments

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5:25PM PDT on Mar 28, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

6:09AM PDT on Sep 9, 2010

http://www.emetro.pl/emetro/1,85616,4672584.html
click here to help people from all over the world!

4:44AM PDT on Aug 30, 2010

I love yoga and this article has helped with my emotional state. I overeat from a craving

3:43AM PDT on Jul 12, 2010

Very good advice :) This is very close to what is taught in a meditation called Vipassanna, which is the type of meditation the Buddha taught and practiced...thanks for sharing!!

3:46PM PDT on Apr 18, 2010

I love Yoga sometimes. I modifiy the most difficult poses or don't do them.

6:48PM PDT on Apr 8, 2010

thx

12:29PM PDT on Apr 5, 2010

Good article! Thanks!

1:25PM PDT on Apr 4, 2010

It is worth to know not just for eating. Thank you!

6:02PM PDT on Apr 3, 2010

Great Information! Thank you very much!

2:10PM PDT on Apr 2, 2010

Dianne D, I completely agree: a very balanced approach is to say "I will have 5 potato chips." But some people can't stop at five, and when the whole bag is gone, they'll move on to something else. In that case, the craving has nothing to do with food. That's where holding the edge--examining the emotions behind the craving--is an enlightening practice. Thank you for pointing it out.

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