Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Time Out

So there I was, lying in Savasana after a particularly invigorating yoga practice. Of course, I felt good. At least, I think I did. I was doing yoga, wasn’t I? I’d had a particularly hectic week doing yet another teacher training, going to the office, teaching, commuting, running errands, answering tons of e-mails, and planning the next few issues. As I rested in the pose of relaxation, I realized I was exhausted. But instead of feeling better, the class had actually added to my fatigue. I dragged myself off the mat and shuffled my way to the subway thinking all the while that I was actually too tired to stop and get something to eat. Sound familiar?

I know I’m not the only one who’s stretched too thin these days. The world continues to spin faster than ever as we all struggle to make ends meet, do good deeds, and live a happy life. Every now and then, it has to catch up with you. You know the feeling: You’re crashing into a wall of obstacles, and you simply don’t have the will or enough breath to exhale them all away.

As I plopped on my couch late that summer evening, I felt the weight of the world crushing my usually strong shoulders. So, I did what any good yogi would do. I broke down and cried—and continued to cry for a good while. I was at rock-bottom, and my world was spinning uncontrollably.

After a long, hot shower, I realized I probably didn’t need to check my e-mail for the 100th time and, honestly, the laundry could wait. Also, I could edit those stories over the weekend....and sub my classes...and maybe take tomorrow off. Why not get a massage and maybe even a pedicure, and let go of all those burdens (whether real or imagined)? I decided to call a time-out.

The next couple of days were heaven as I indulged in simply being. I attempted only the simplest tasks and considered an afternoon nap high-priority. Re-entering the world slowly, I joined a restorative class instead of my usual hustled flow. After two days of doing less, I felt myself emerge from the shadows with much more lightness. I was breathing more deeply. And my smile returned as I inhaled the last sweet smells of summer.

This is not to say that my burdens had magically disappeared or that my schedule had miraculously become less hectic. That stuff was still there waiting for me. What had changed was my approach to it all. I had realized that the best way to practice yoga isn’t always by pushing myself into a yoga class. Sometimes, doing yoga is all about creating space for yourself and having the good sense to call for a time-out.

Sweet dreams,

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