Oh, if only you had a crystal ball…it would be easy to know how far to go in a pose. You would know how far is too far, where irritation or injury might occur. You would know when you haven’t gone far enough - to a place where strength is built. The practice of yoga requires a constant look at where you are and the sensations you’re feeling - a consistent approach of scanning and checking-in, gathering intel on the multitude of layers that make up your whole being. You must be dedicated to this approach of witnessing. Over time, you build x-ray vision, though a different version than Superman’s. This vision goes inward. You see sensations, pain, emotions, arguments. You notice resistance and research possible reasons for it. Is it warning you that you’re about to get hurt? Is the resistance due to a reluctance to work? Or to fear of injury or uncomfortable emotions? This witnessing - this is the practice. The pose - or full expression of it - doesn’t matter nearly as much as your experience in it. As you challenge yourself, you must be cautious not to abuse yourself. A seasoned yogi is a sleuth, always observing and gathering clues, knowing that there are physical consequences, and also emotional/spiritual ones, to their approach to their investigation. The trick is to dance at the edge, going near but not past it. On this edge is growth, where you become more powerful than a locomotive.
Super Yogi to the Rescue!