Relaxation Pose: It's harder than what you think!
My first recollection of “Relaxation Pose” is from kindergarten where once a day we lied down on a mat, and if we stayed still for the allotted time, we were able to pick a prize from the teacher’s prize bin. It was after recess, and all I needed was the motivation of that reward at the end, to play dead to the world for just a few minutes out of my day.
I recently went on a yoga retreat to Feathered Pipe Ranch where relaxation is encouraged in between yoga sessions and the property contained within nature is an ideal place to do so. With that said, for the first few days, I found myself taking my usual habits from home into my vacation. Wanting to squeeze every minute out of every day, with a slight fear of missing out on “doing all the things” I was quickly missing the point of why I had signed up for retreat and why I needed to be there so badly.
To the onlooker or passerby this may not have been obvious, however I was very aware as I rushed along the scenic paths and as I noticed my mind was elsewhere, while engaging in conversation with retreat mates. Thank goodness for the deer that literally stopped me in my tracks multiple times as a reminder, and for the rocky hikes that required my attention…as well as for the mantra I had already been using in meditation & throughout my day, “Here I am.” Feeling myself physically, I reminded myself of where I was over and over in multiple situations, and the good news is that it did get better after a couple of days of awareness on, and eventually off, of the mat.
One of our teachers suggested that we take 3 deep breaths in the morning upon waking, as a grounding tactic before what often feels like to me, a mad dash straight out of the “gates.” I’ve had the experience of mentally going through my day as a means of psyching myself up to do (formally what I was unrealistically trying to accomplish) but I also find myself currently rushing these days just because I’m so excited for the day to begin that sometimes my sleep suffers, just because I’m all ready to go ahead of schedule!
This photo was captured of me without me knowing a few days into our retreat and it was in these moments exactly that I first began to feel myself relax and drift off to what my teacher would say “from a state of doing towards being.” I know many of us have been caught in this overworking routine throughout pandemic just because we are able, and we may have more time to do so with less social plans but eventually it catches up as it began to for me beginning last April. Some of you may be surprised to hear this, since slowing down is generally what I like to teach, because it’s what resonates with me the most, trying to override my own natural tendencies. In case you weren’t aware, yoga teachers are people too, and everything is a practice or at least it is for me!