I went to a movie on a Monday afternoon. There. I said it out loud.
This past month when my one large half-time pieces of contract work ended, I intentionally did not look to replace the work quickly and opted instead to take a mini-sabbatical. I still have some smaller contract work on my plate, but the pace is much, much slower when I’m not constantly juggling the needs of multiple jobs and clients.
When I first started this new pace of life, I operated out of old habits — waking nearly every morning in a state of semi-panic as I reviewed the list of 50 things I needed to do that day. But, I would search the depths of my memory and pleasantly discover that there were only two or three things I really needed to get done. Once those were done, I could use my time as I wished.
I started to fill the time with more activities that I always longed for — working out, writing projects including this blog, online classes, more yoga, etc., etc. Quickly I realized that I didn’t need to fill the time with anything if I didn’t want to. I could take a nap, stare at the wall, have a conversation with a random stranger, watch tv or go see a movie. I could even leisurely scroll through Facebook without feeling pangs of guilt for “wasting time.”
This pace felt very, very right to me. And the fact that my hyper Type A personality was able to settle into it is nothing short of a miracle. It came as a result of (you guessed it) my yoga practice. For the past couple years I have been practicing with Marcia Miller at Yoga on High in Columbus, who has an uncanny ability to adjust your body in ways that help you feel the most comfortable. If you’re in a restorative (resting) pose she looks at you with a discerning eye and knows instantly that you, let’s say, need another blanket under your head for maximum comfort. I admit that when she first started adjusting me this way, I internally (or even externally) rolled my eyes. “Really?,” I thought. “What difference does THAT make?”
Turns out it makes a big difference. I may not have been pained in the pose before the addition of that comfy prop, but I wouldn’t have been able to settle as easily into relaxation. She inspired and challenged me to take more restorative classes in the past two years. I became much more comfortable with taking time to just lay around and let myself rest. No guilt necessary.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle, though, is asking for what you need. Marcia, and many other YoHI teachers, encourage you to ASK them for additional props that would make you more comfortable. This forces you to do two things — be aware of just what WOULD make you more comfortable and be willing to ask for it. I suck as asking for things that I need. I know I’m not alone in this terrible habit. I tentatively learned how to do it and it became a less guilt-inducing over time.
Asking for what you need is so difficult because at the core of my hesitancy is the false belief that I do not deserve it. I had to move into the opposite of that belief — that I am worthy of getting help and being as comfortable and relaxed as possible. I am valuable enough and human enough to lay around while other people take care of me. I have to recognize that I can and should say no to pain and discomfort, especially when I’m trying to calm my nervous system and rest.
Like that old commercial use to say, I have to believe that I am worth it.
Go Deeper: Show Yourself Some Love: Valentine’s Day Yoga/Meditation, 2 – 4 PM EST Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, which is a two-hour practice including gentle movement, restorative yoga (the laying-around kind, as described above), and guided meditation.