Take it to the Mat: Rest
The journey can feel quite long, yet the moments are so short. In one breath we’re snuggling with a new sweet baby, and in the next he or she is running around the house – shaking up our quiet little world. Sharing life with a child is absolutely blissful and beautiful. It is also completely exhausting.
And this brings me to our theme of the week: rest. After spending four-days in sheer yogic-joy at two phenomenal conferences, I find myself completely depleted. Four-days off. Four-days on. Yet, it truly seems like fifty days on. It’s so easy to care for yourself when it’s just you that needs tending. But when there is a child involved… well, my dear friend, it is much less simple to care for you. Because of this, I find myself recollecting on the words of my teachers. Words that are much more relevant to life as a parent than I had first believed.
So, what are these beautifully gifted words?
- Rest in the middle of things. When life is busiest, take a break. It seems as those this would be nonconstructive to whatever goal that we are striving to reach, but it is actually quite the opposite. When we rest, we better connect with our intuition – our inner wisdom. We are able to make better choices. The outcome reflects this.
- You have two choices, digest prana (breath and life) or digest food (water, etc.). Hmm. Now this, is food for thought. As I reached down for my water bottle just prior to our time together on the mat, my teacher looked at me and said these words. Oops! What a wonderful lesson learned. Our choices often reflect a combination of intellectual and emotional intelligence. Intellectually, I considered that I must hydrate before I use what my body may not have (Note to self: you are over 80% water… you’ll probably be just fine without a sip). Days later, as I shuffled through my cabinet for something to eat, I came back to these words again. Hungry? Yes. But for what? It wasn’t for food. It was for breath! After hours of sitting hunched over a computer, you may feel quite famished. Was typing really that exhausting? Or maybe your body is craving fuel? The best fuel I can think of is the oxygen-rich air that is needed for every single process within the human body.
- Everything manifests in the physical body. Emotional and mental stressors deeply alter our health. Often, they create a disharmony or acute illness. The physical body is the densest, most tangible part of who we are. Fatigued? Think about how you are fueling this body. What nutrients are you providing it. In pain? Consider where you might be harboring your tensions. And then, of course, bring it to the mat. This brings me to #4…
- Squat a lot. Squatting promotes the digestive process. Malasana, a yogic squat, enhances this process. Good digestion means good assimilation. And this means more energy for you! While you’re down there…
- Put your belly on Mother Earth. Though it may seem strange at first, think of it with your core – not your head. At the very most primal level, we receive all of our support from the earth. Coming back down to earth grounds us. Connects us with being. It pulls us away from doing.
Tip: While you’re down there, try a serotonin-releasing posture. If you have little ones, bring them into the mix! Start on your belly, arms extended overhead with palms and forehead flat on the earth. We call this posture Crocodile. Enliven your Crocodile by patting your hands on the earth. Encourage little beings to do the same. Maybe they can even kick their feet too! Next, bring your arms by the sides of your body, palms still facing down. Lift the front of your body up off of the floor, reaching with your heart center. There should not be any tension in the shoulders or neck. Lift your legs off the floor, pushing into the ground with your pelvis. Then, reach behind you with your hands to your thighs, feet, or ankles to create a Bow. As you inhale and exhale, feel your belly push into the earth. Share this pose as Shark with your little ones.
My you be balanced and open, may you be peaceful and present, may you be full of life-joy, and may you be unconditionally loved.