Day 17: Give Yourself A Break

Today’s asana practice was a perfect fit for such a dreary spring day. We focused primarily on gentle stretching and restorative poses for about two hours. It certainly helped relieve everyone’s pre-exam anxiety (Thursday is the big day), but it also gave our bodies a kind and much-needed break after three full weeks of intense asana every day.

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It made me think about how often we don’t give ourselves permission to take a rest day, to prioritize relaxation, to simply take a few more deep breaths than we normally do. It’s something ingrained in our culture (especially urban culture) — that “Go, go, go!” all the time attitude that suggests restoration is only needed by the weak and the strong can persevere till the end of time. It’s obviously absurd, but it’s how we behave.

When was the last time you chose to prioritize relaxation in your life? Can you remember? If you can, do you remember how it felt? I’m pretty sure that 99.9 percent of the time, it feels amazing, which makes it even more surprising that the memory of the relaxing experience doesn’t motivate us to chill the eff out more often.

It was beautiful to see so many people transform from feeling frenetic with stress to blissed out in Savasana in a matter of hours today. And it’s something I hope to be able to recreate in future classes of mine — either as the teacher or the student. And it’s something I hope you all can experience on a regular basis too.

Go ahead. Opt for restorative yoga instead of your sixth level 2 vinyasa flow class this week. Let the running shoes rest for a day while you take a meditative walk around your neighborhood. Turn off your chirping cell phone and stick your nose in a new book. I don’t care what the change to your normal habits and choices is — I just care that you try it and see what happens.

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