As a teacher in general and in the specific area of yoga instruction I preach, continually about the importance of rest. You must give your body and brain the relaxation and rejuvenation they need to function.
It's always about how the body does not function well without enough rest.
That tells you about my mindset right there.
It will come as no surprise then, that I struggle with rest (#thestruggleisreal). As a concept I get it; the body needs to have downtime, respite, so that it can function optimally. So too, does the brain.
As a yoga instructor I can (and do) tell anyone and everyone to rest and listen to their body; as a human I can support you when those days hit that you need to sit and do nothing. You need a rest- find your repose. You need to recuperate- go get cozy. Want me to get you a cozy coffee or tea while you put your feet up?
Okay, so that "anyone" does not include myself. Surprise! I seem to not be able to encourage the same understanding and compassion when it comes to the human in the mirror. In-fact, I tend to give myself so much crap about what I should be doing that my attempts at rest tend to be more of an exercise in futility.
Yourself can be the most difficult human to be kind to. Amiright!?
But then I did it. I did it yesterday. I. Rested. No working out. I slept in. I ate like a human. I ignored my to do list. I took a nap. I got my nails did.Yes, I had to keep reminding myself to put shit down. I had to stop myself from checking that to do list. But, I did indeed find ease.
I'm one of those (what was called) "type A" personalities... or something akin. I have to work; if I am not being productive I am all the guilt and self-recriminations. All of them. All. Know a someone like that? Could that someone be attached to the face you see in the mirror?
Maybe give them a stern stop-being-stupid-and-take-your-ease lecture while you set them up for a nap. Or time with a good (or trashy, it can absolutely be a trashy) book. Or, whatever floats them like an easy and relaxed boat.
Okay, you pick a better bit of imagery.
The funny thing is, I'm in fields of work that you would (and people do!) assume that I know better. If I had a penny for every-time I have been told that I am so calm, that more people need yoga because of stress, that I must not have stress because of all the yoga I do...
Every profession comes with it's own misconceptions and bullshit expectations. And for that matter, so do we humans. We have to fight and struggle against them; it is how we get better. Don't assume that your yoga teacher is the relaxing kind. They may seriously have to put effort into trying to take it easy.
I, litterally had to spend my rest day telling myself (outloud) that I was happy I was taking a rest. That there would be no ill effects from this action. That I would only be positively affected by resting.
I'm not anymore off kilter than the next human. We all have our hangups. There are those of us that have to work at not being all effort all the time. And, in our society we have to work doubly hard at not wearing this as a badge of honor in the cult of busy. It just creates a vicious cycle.
Full disclosure; it's 6:30 on a Sunday. I'm up and working. I've been up for about an hour at this point. I plan to nap after I finish with this. I won't win every skirmish but, I can work out a few compromises with the land of rest. So that maybe I don't wait to take that break when I'm no longer in a position to choose.
Jocelynne Lowans is an animated Yogini-Artist on a mission to deepen the creative experience and growth of the world while remaining a crazy cat lady.