A Season to Restore

Many yoga teachers typically offer a restorative class at this time of year. I had the opportunity to experience two different ones this week - taught by two of my teachers. Each one truly restored me at a time when I really needed it. I found them calming to my nervous system...

Every year I teach a class at the end of the session just before Christmas that combines a yin practice with a restorative one - and a mini yoga nidra, which means "yogic sleep" - and is a type of full body relaxation. As my students hold and release deeply into the poses, I read inspirational passages and spiritual poetry to them.

This particular year - it seems that so many close to me have been affected by serious illness, injuries, physical infirmities, and the deaths of loved ones. I thought of this during the classes I took this week, as I creatively sought to adapt poses so that I could experience them as best as I could, given some medical cautions and restraints I had to take in consideration...

As I drove home at peace, I passed a hearse with a flag draped coffin. I turned to look on respectfully and offer a prayer, and noted that a placard with the name "Collins" had been affixed to the window of the hearse. I imagined the family that must be grieving for this person, who perhaps had given his or her life in the line of duty, and I felt sadness for the loss of this life - beloved to others...

I came home and in the late afternoon took Grace out to the river for a while. I needed to ground and I can think of no better way to do that than by going into the river, if only for 30 minutes. I didn't do a lot of paddling. Instead, I did a brief meditation and just "hung out" there for a short while...

At one point, I fixed my eyes on the boat launch area as I floated, and it seemed as if my peripheral vision moved by in slow motion. I imagined the objects on the periphery of my field of vision to be like the vrittis - the thought waves of the mind - always in fluctuation. A restorative practice, as my teacher noted today - can calm and settle the fluctuations of those constant thoughts. My own thoughts have been very much in need of settling...

I came home, ran some errands, and then finally attended to the flood of email in my inbox. One after another of the emails I read requested prayers or healing energy for someone...

I rejoiced at the incredible and miraculous improvement of a friend surviving a massive stroke. I was shocked at the serious injury sustained by the father of a dear friend. And then, I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of a mother to whom I had been sending Reiki to for some time. This courageous woman had battled cancer for several years, hoping to see her young sons grow a little more...I believe the energy work she received at the hands of a gifted massage therapist and healer, probably prolonged her life - and this is what I told this therapist friend of mine...

There is so much that can pull us out of our center - and emotions can run very high at this time of year. A yoga practice of restoratives can help us cope with all that life throws at us. Something as simple as releasing into Supta Baddha Konasana can refresh the senses and calm the nerves for it truly is - as the wonderful teacher whose class I took this morning noted - one of the most therapeutic poses.

This season invites us to restore in body, mind, and spirit. May you allow yourself to restore in whatever way touches you most deeply.

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