The Necessity of Stillness

What if we took as much care with our rest as we did with say, our diet?

I’ve just completed day 1 (of 5) of the Relax and Renew restorative yoga training intensive with Judith Hanson Lasater in London. This question came up near the beginning of the day.

Often, as yogis we may put special effort into taking time over whether we are eating organically. Or gluten slash wheat slash dairy free. Or thinking about what foods to eat to give us more energy – will this or that new product do that for us?

But if what if we just rested instead?

Often we are our own worst enemies as we don’t give ourselves permission to be still. We don’t have time. We are so busy. We see taking that time out as being lazy.

We talked today about how a great deal of what is beneficial about this form of yoga is that people are still. In what other place in our lives are we truly given permission to be still?

It’s true that at times restorative yoga is seen as not ‘real yoga’, (because it looks as though you are not ‘doing’ very much) or as being for people who are new to yoga. But really it’s for everyone. After all, who isn’t stressed? (And therefore, in need of physiological relaxation.)

If you’re tired it’s hard to be compassionate towards the people around us, let alone towards ourselves. Hands up who gets tetchy or lacks the ability to focus and be present when they are tired?

As was discussed today, if your life is frantic, your practice will have that vibration. And as a teacher, if you are caught up in a frantic state then that veneer of ‘frantic’ can come across in your teaching.

That hit a nerve.

I know as a student that I have often enough picked up on that kind of frantic energy from the teacher leading a class. My life is pretty frantic at the moment and I am doing some re-assessing as a result, so this topic today really resonated with me.

I know I don’t get enough rest. I know I am stressed. I know I am sleep deprived. Who’s with me? Probably almost anyone who is breathing!

So what if we started to see rest as the necessity that it is instead of a luxury, or as being lazy? Yes, it will take practise (for some of us, a lot of practise). But we can make a start. And we can try to remember to be kind to ourselves along the way.

I am so grateful to be doing this course at this particular time, deepening my knowledge of a form of yoga that I know has and continues to benefit me. I feel especially excited at the prospect of being able to share what I am learning with others. What a privilege.

I Love yoga! And I am loving that the learning never stops.


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