Life Lessons From the Mat: Rest Now

May 27, 2016

Photo courtesy windyschneider

After two weeks of reno chaos, I’m finally able to leave my house for more than the absolute essentials. Yesterday I indulged in the simple pleasure of my favorite local yoga class—Yoga for Stress Relief.

In this class, we use props such as bolsters, blocks and blankets, to help us hold restorative poses without straining and tiring our muscles. We let the props support and cradle us, allowing us to go deeper, hold longer, and really relax into the poses. Yesterday, as I have so many times before, even as I settled into a pose, I could feel my muscles clenched and tense, holding on even when they didn’t need to. I had to consciously relax them into the support beneath me. I could almost hear my body sigh with relief as the instructor led us through the day’s sequence and I began to let go of my tension.

It occurs to me that I do the same thing in other parts of my life. Even when support and help is available, I don’t ask for it. If someone offers to help, I don’t always accept it. I don’t use the resources available to me, just like I don’t relax and let the props do their job in yoga class.


Well, let’s see: independence (not to say stubbornness), fear of being a bother or a burden, a bit of control-freakishness, and a dash of the two-year-old’s, “I can do it myself!” Oh, yes, those are good reasons.

Even in our more strenuous classes, our yoga instructors remind us there’s nothing wrong with using props to make our poses more effective. Every body is different and requires different support to work its best. We are to listen to our bodies and give them what they need, both on and off the mat. It’s a lesson I’m slowly learning.

Aside from the obvious physical and mental benefits, the message of the Yoga for Stress Relief class is: “Rest now. You don’t have to do it all by yourself.” A good message for us all, and not just while we’re on the mat.

So the next time you need me, you’ll find me in savasana, supported by a folded blanket under my head, a bolster beneath my knees, and an eye pillow draped over my eyes. 

Rest now.

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  1. I'm not sure what "renal chaos" meant, but I'll go back through your recent posts to see . Oh so wise and nurturing you are, coming to these realizations....I need to relax too at this time, and to remember to not isolate myself from caring, as always, thank you....

  2. Rita--LOL--that's reno, as in renovation, not "renal." I can understand your confusion! Yes, we do need to take time to relax and to accept nurturing when we need it.

  3. Dear Kathy great observation. I am one of those folks who tries to do it all by myself too. Taking a lesson from you today. :) Have a super week. Hugs

  4. Debbie--I try to do everything myself, too. It's hard to let go, but necessary. Hope you did find some rest!