The fall season begins tonight in my corner of the world. I’m learning to welcome the shorter days, the cooler weather, the return of the rain. In the past I’ve resisted the half of the year from late September – late March as ‘not my favorite time of year,’ but in the past few years I’ve begun to embrace the opportunity to go within more, to rest more and to ‘hunker down.’
When my son was small I used to tell him often, ‘what you resist persists.’ a phrase we’ve all heard but may not have taken to heart. My encouragement to you is to try being curious about accepting what is without trying to change or control it. Be open to the possibility that the rhythms of the seasons, one of many rhythms in nature, are a natural unfolding – after all, resistance does not stop the seasons from changing. We all have our personal preferences, but even if long, warm days are your favorite, there is deep significance in more time spent in quiet, reflective pursuits and more rest.
I wrote last time about the importance of my (mostly) daily savasana ritual and that has continued to be very healing and restorative. I’m excited to begin 4-week Restorative yoga sessions at my studio in the woods next month, and to sharing the magical benefits of incorporating Restorative yoga into daily life as a way to ease and flow with transitions, including the changing of the seasons.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how important it is to take 20 minutes a day to do a restorative yoga pose. Time for a true confession: at the time, I wasn’t yet ‘practicing what I preached.’ I wasn’t making sure I found a way to do that myself every day. I fell prey to that all-too-easy excuse ‘there’s no time in the day.’
In the past week, I was determined to change that, and made it a priority to ‘bookend’ my morning mediation and yoga practice that I have been doing without fail for about two years now with a 20-minute savasana, between my afternoon walk with my dogs and making dinner. What an amazing difference this makes in your day! The tensions of the day melt away as you transition from day to evening. You can feel your nervous system down-regulating. And, as you can see from this photo, you don’t necessarily need tons of props, or even to be in yoga clothes. If you don’t have an eye bag a scarf or sweater draped across your eyes for darkness will do.
So don’t let yourself fall for the excuses. This really matters and makes a huge difference in how you feel. Even after practicing this daily for only a week, I can feel a noticeably greater sense of calm. 20 minutes a day of ‘doing nothing’ is the opposite of a waste of time.
Recommended links: My favorite restful Instagrammers:
Now that I’ve had a week to reflect on my experience at the Relax and Renew ® Level 1 teacher training course that I took in San Francisco, I realize more than ever how important it is that we allow ourselves time to rest. As I learned from my teacher, Judith Hanson Laster, who has been teaching yoga for 48 years, rest and sleep are different, and we need both. As Judith explained, relaxation and sleep are distinct physiological states. The importance of good sleep has been on most people’s radar for the past few years, but most people still don’t give themselves time to rest. I couldn’t agree more with Judith that if everyone gave themselves 20 minutes every day in a restorative yoga pose, such as savasana (corpse pose), the world would truly be a different place. Yes – 20 minutes. It takes that long for people to truly relax and rest. And it’s worth it – in fact, I believe it’s essential.
Try it for a week and see how you feel! It’s like magic in down-regulating the sympathetic nervous system and helping you ‘come home to yourself.’ Yoga is about remembering that, not creating it.
More to come on this. For now, have a restful week.