The more I practice, the more I feel like I hold myself back. I hear so many horror stories from other teachers (torn meniscus, herniated disk, face plant/bloody nose) that I start to worry that if I go too far, I’ll end up in the territory of unnecessary pain and injury.
On the other hand, I feel stuck in my practice – like I’m not advancing because I’m not trying. In not trying, I’m cheating myself out of the mental focus and physical awareness.
It’s a fine line between trying something that you might be ready for without going to the point of injury. It’s a line that everyone has to figure out for themselves.
As for me, I’ve started to venture out of my comfort zone. I’ve been lucky to have open hamstrings (or some people think I have none since I can forward fold deeply and never seem to find a stretch in them… Heh) and decent backbends. Hip openers have been hard. A desk job has shortened my hip flexors and had started to create some back pain (refer to iliopsoas.) After practicing yoga for a few years, my hips have finally opened enough that I can put my foot behind my head (not comfortably though) before I felt stuck. I’ve recently discovered an amazing sequence from Tiffany Cruikshank to work towards Kala Bhairavasana. Suddenly I’m outside my comfort zone, but well within the realm of what I am capable of doing. I’m not there yet, but I think if I try, I can actually do it. Toeing the line and hoping that my limits are farther than I believe.