So. Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but, ahem. I’m feeling rather rested today.
Yes. It’s Monday morning, and I’m feeling rested.
No, pigs are not flying (as far as I know), and I’m fairly certain hell hasn’t frozen over yet either, but I, for the first time in. . . I have no idea how long, actually, did not wake up Monday morning already tired.
I don’t anticipate an encore performance of this anomaly anytime soon (maybe ever), but damn it feels good to not have bags under my eyes right now.
Wondering how this all happened?
It was Yin Yoga.
I took a 15 hour Yin Yoga teacher training this weekend and committed myself to being still and resting in between sessions.
Me. Committing to being still. For an ENTIRE weekend. It was fucking tortuous. But also, um, kind of great.
Yin yoga does everything that its counterpart, Yang styles of yoga such as the Power Vinyasa practice I have five to seven days a week, doesn’t. Yin stretches the connective tissues, exercises the joints and stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid, which is essentially the WD40 of the body.
For a short science lesson (because why not?) — Hyaluronic acid, in addition to being super fun to say five times, is the fluid that binds water and lubricates our joints. As our bodies age, the viscosity of our joint fluid lessens. This is why we see fusion and compression of the joints which decreases mobility and range of motion. It’s also why we see Grannie hunched over a cane and Grandpa barely able to rise from his recliner on his own.
So, if you’ll follow me just a bit longer as I role play Bill Nye the Science Guy, the more Hyaluronic acid we build, the more youthful and mobile our joints will stay.
Sounds kinda like a no brainer, yes?
Well. Here’s the bad news. If we don’t allow our bodies time to build that fluid and we, say (hypothetically speaking of course), are always instead pounding the shit out of our joints doing intense exercise then we hit our bone structures with a double whammy- it’s like a chisel with a hammer behind it. Don’t stop until it breaks.
Sounds like my kind of plan, doesn’t it?
The last time I had x-rays done (which was um, like two weeks ago when my doctor was checking to see if my ribcage was broken-broken, or just kind-of broken [sidenote, it was the latter]) I discovered that my otherwise quite healthy 34 year old self is already developing bone spurs and arthritis in my thoracic spine.
This means, that my go-big or go home, balls-to-the-wall, don’t stop until you’re dead approach to life, but especially exercise, is actually beginning to catch up with me, from the inside out.
There’s that whole “exercise and rest are essential to human health” bullshit again.
Only it’s not bullshit, actually. It’s legit.
So. Back to Yin Teacher Training. And rest. And softening.
In Yin Yoga, you hold poses for three to seven minutes, sometimes even ten. The room is quiet, dark, and room temperature. There is very little talking, a small amount of music on occassion, and a whole lot of holding still. Very still. Very, very, very still.
It’s almost like meditation with asana, actually. And we all know how much I like to meditate. . .
Increasing the level of difficulty is the fact that most of the poses are some version of a hip or heart opener. This means your chakras- particularly your first and fourth- are wide open, and for long periods of time.
If this sounds greek, er, uh, sanskrit?, to you, let me help you out a bit (more). To oversimplify it, chakras are the body’s internal energy circuits. They are, as are all things, connected, both to each other and to our lives.
So, when your chakras are opening and activated through asana, meditation, or what have you, it basically means your emotional control centers are being triggered, in a big and powerful way.
This is not a simple thing, actually. It’s a BFD, and not something to be treated lightly.
As such, it’s important to have someone who knows what the hell they are doing to guide you through it. Hence the training. Also, hence the pain, and then, the rest and the peace.
Being still, looking within, and laying exposed and vulnerable isn’t easy.
Creating internal and external room to move is hard work. Letting go, as it turns out, takes more strength than holding on does.
Well, until it doesn’t.
When we finally surrender, relief comes gently, the pain goes away, and we can rest in the sweet embrace of peace.
Bliss. Grace. Contentment.
It’s a beautiful thing, even it it only lasts but a moment.
This weekend- I did it. I lay there, breathing, thinking, watching my train of thought as I considered- where in my life can I soften? What can I let go of, right here, right now, that will best serve me in growth? What am I holding on to that I am willing to release? What would my life look like if I did? How would I feel? What would I have to gain from it?
Everything. The answer is everything.
I have nothing to gain from a tenacious grasp on that which it hurts me to hold, and everything to benefit in yielding to what doesn’t.
And also, to all things there is a balance, an opposite, a yin to the yang, to be quite cliche.
This means, if I want to go hard, I must also rest. If I want to receive, I must surrender.
If I want to build, I must also take inventory of my supplies. If I want to run forever, I must also lay down sometimes.
Today, I invite you to consider this- where in your life can you soften? What’s not serving you? What can you let go of? How will your life look if and when you do?
Scared to consider it? Don’t be. Grab a mat, lay down, and let the universe guide you there.
Everything you want is already yours, go create some space to receive it.
Like this post? Post it, tweet it, pin it, google it, trip on it, or otherwise spread the social love people.Really, really, like it? Subscribe to my feed and get posts delivered in your inbox. Can’t get enough? Stalk me: @CFOLikeaMother, Facebook or Pinterest