Thursday, October 23, 2008

Resting for Connection

This weekend I am off to my spiritual renewal weekend. My spiritual path has a huge gathering two times a year for a weekend. My family and I go every time. My time is focused on my connection to my Higher Self and what I will do when I leave to maintain that connection. I take the weekend very seriously because I am still learning how to take time for that connection the rest of the year. Just stopping to relax is challenging in our society with the frenetic energy we have as our norm.

I once heard that the ideal for relaxing/off time is:
• 20-minutes daily
• one day each week
• one weekend a month
• 2 weeks a year

I do the 20-minutes daily well, but the rest are still a work in progress. I have also heard a great coach say we should all take “federal holidays” and have 10, 3-day weekends a year as well as 4 weeks of vacation. I couldn’t agree more! I know I would be more inspired than ever. So, why is it so difficult?

I know as a teacher, I have a sense of responsibility to my students. Yet, when my teacher took vacations, I didn’t mind. No, that answer is too simple. I truly think the energy our culture discourages breathing space. I also think we have the power to change that old way of thinking! Judith Lasater recommends a 20-minute Savasana (Relaxation Pose) daily, making one day a week of restorative, and one-week of restorative each year. Our calming energy can change the energy of the world. Changing the world, one yoga student at a time!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Help for the Savasana (Relaxation Pose) Challenged

Do you have any students who simply cannot relax in Savasana? In our culture, it is simply not unusual to find those who cannot surrender in that position. Savasana is actually stimulating to our nervous system! Now I don’t mean stimulating like backbends or headstands, but a bit. The back body is about stimulating (hence the effect of backbends) and the front body relaxing and surrendering (hence the effect of forward folds). We do Savasana on our backs to keep us a little alert. Savasana is supposed to be conscious relaxation, not falling asleep. But when someone already has a very stimulated nervous system (in other words, stressed. Not uncommon in our world!) then Savasana can further stimulate it, rendering relaxation impossible.

If you have a student who needs help, place her in Asavasana. (Whenever an “A” is placed in front of a Sanskrit word, it changes the word to its opposite.) You place her on her stomach over a bolster. You can see me here in the photo demonstrating it. I like to hang my head just a bit over the edge (letting the forehead have a downward angle helps relax the brain) but if that is uncomfortable for your student, have her rest her head on the bolster, turning it to the other side halfway through the relaxation.

Top 100 Yoga and Meditation Sites

Thank you X-Ray Technician Schools! They compiled the 100 best yoga and meditation sites for us. They have a brief description of each so you can find what fits you. Enjoy!