Namaste Hemma community! Where do the months go? Summer melting into Autumn…it’s always an interesting blend of feelings and influence as the whispers of a fresh season unfold.
At the beginning of this summer, I had the amazing opportunity of assisting my teacher, Donna Farhi, at a 5 day intensive in Seattle called ‘Opening to Insight’. During the intensive, she pointed out in various ways that there is often a lot of prejudice in our culture around attending to fatigue. At one point she used the analogy of attending to thirst. You wouldn’t tend to thirst with a bowl of peanuts, for example – and yet this is exactly what our culture encourages us to do much of the time when we feel tired – reach for sugar, coffee, or other stimulants – another meeting, chore or activity. It’s not uncommon to develop a habit of ‘pushing through’ or suppressing waves of fatigue instead of being loyal to the messengers that help us to know when to honor the natural urge to stop and rest…not as a passive collapse, but as deep, conscious, revolutionary rest.
It’s interesting to notice what we offer ourselves at this level – not only during our formal practice on the yoga mat, but in the moment to moment rhythms of daily life.
If humans are so advanced and innovative with technology, speed, activity and production – it makes sense to me to cultivate equal innovation and evolution in our understanding of the opposite – slowing down, resting, sleeping, and non-doing. After all, each realm of experience informs, balances and enriches the other!
I recently created a website, www.sacredsleepyoga.com
The focus of this portal grew from my observing that:
Many people don’t give rest and sleep cycles much attention, and yet difficulty sleeping has reached epidemic proportions in our culture, across generations. Sleep awareness deserves the status of nutrition and exercise. It’s a fascinating, inspirational territory that most of us have never been encouraged to explore or wield in a conscious, deliberate way.
There are so few places one can go where deep rest is actually revered and ‘enforced’ as a critical ingredient in bio-psycho-social-spiritual well being.
The approaches I specialize in honor, focus upon and emphasize this wisdom.
I personally grew up with the notion that to rest is not only boring, but lazy. This affected me deeply because every time I felt drawn to ‘la dolce far niente’ (sometimes translated as ‘delicious idleness’, or the ‘sweetness of doing nothing’), I would simultaneously carry a sense of guilt or anxiety for not being ‘productive’. Or I might turn on the TV or computer, or call a friend or family member with the intention of having some ‘down time’, only to become even more stimulated or agitated.
I noticed these mixed messages existed both in the directives from my culture as well as within myself. They often created conflict and left me feeling out of balance on multiple levels, having never really understood the relationship between rest and activity cycles, or how to harness their power consciously and wisely.
Now, my yoga practice consistently inspires me to slow down on many different levels, and to integrate regular organic rest into my life while nurturing creativity, depth and soulfulness. As wise senior yogi Judith Lasater reminds us, our lives are too fast, too busy and too intense to wait for vacations to truly rest. We must learn how to incorporate and experience compressed ‘mini’ vacations throughout our daily lives.
Speaking of mini vacations, I am leading a special 2 hour class called “Relaxing into Transitions ~ Deep Restoratives and Yoga Nidra” at the turn of the Autumn equinox, on Saturday, Sept 24th from 4:30-6:30pm, as well as on Saturday, December 17th near the Winter solstice from 4:30-6:30pm.
One of my favorite ways to inject quality rest into my life is through the powerful practice of Restorative Yoga poses and Yoga Nidra, a form of yogic sleep. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being held by a well supported restorative pose or letting go with ease into deep conscious sleep. It’s a bit like trying to describe a mango – you can try, but it’s much easier just to take a bite, to experience it!
I have heard testimonials like “It’s better than valium”, “I feel like I am in a cocoon floating in space”, “delicious”, and “whoa”, among others.
Please pre-register. Class size will be limited to ensure comfortable space for everyone.
To see the full class description, see our events page.
Jennifer Piercy, E-RYT500