STOP, Collaborate, and Listen

Final relaxation begins and there she goes: her foot starts to anxiously beat side to side; her fingers tap on the mat; her hands come up to her neck to rub and then she checks her watch; her arm falls to the mat with a thud; her foot starts again, this time like she is playing a bass drum with her knee beating in time…and on it goes throughout savasana.  For many people and for many reasons, this is the hardest pose in yoga.

I see this inability to be still frequently and I assume that it used to be (and off of the mat probably still is) a pretty accurate picture of me.  We are so caught up in going, going, going that when we do stop or even pause, we start to feel guilty because we aren’t doing something.  So, we keep going, keep pushing, keep adding more until our bodies force us to stop.  Then, we can avoid feeling bad for resting because we have the excuse of being sick.

I think that we should seriously consider that maybe sometimes resting IS the hard work we should be doing.  

In an age of the glorification of busy, we neglect to recognize the toll it is taking on us.  When we actually take the time to slow down, our bodies have time to catch up.  Our muscles can heal, we can digest our food and our experiences, our immune system can fight of invaders at full strength, our nervous system can calm, our hormones can balance out, and our minds can clear.

Don’t get me wrong, I am preaching to the both of us.  I struggle big-time with slowing down, but it never fails that after a day or a weekend of “doing nothing” and actually relaxing, I say to my husband, “I feel so much better!  I really should do nothing more often.”  (And then he looks at me with that eyes-half-closed, no expression face that says, ‘Really?!?’ because he encourages me All. The. Time. to take a break.  Then I tell him that he was right, he asks me to repeat that part, and we are both happy.)

I know that it can be scary to slow down physically because that is when our thoughts can really get out of control.  We are afraid that we will have time to actually feel what we are going through in life; we will have time to question/doubt/fear/overthink/etc.  But if we do that, if we allow ourselves to feel and to breathe through it, then it will go away.  And we can move on in a healthier way.



So, this week, try to give yourself a break.  If it helps, remind yourself of all of the work your body will be doing to catch up while you are doing “nothing”.  Give yourself permission to heal.  It’s really important.  And it could be just what you needed to answer that question or solve that problem or allow creativity in.

And of course, I will be trying with you.  In fact, for the next few minutes, just sit and breathe.  Let’s thank our bodies for all of the work they do to keep us in balance even as we are working against them.  And then, go schedule some time off.

Talk again soon.


[For more about struggles in savasana, here’s a piece from about just that…]

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