Judith Lasater, author of Relax and Renew, says that it takes courage to rest and relax. It’s means you go oppose the protestant work ethic. But you are complying with the practical Buddhist idea:”When you are hungry, eat. When you are thirsty, drink, and when you are tired, sleep.”
Most people know that meditation is good for them. But that doesn’t mean it’s at all easy to develop the meditation muscle.I’ve had a patchy history as a meditator. I’m now getting more regular as I see I need it. Savasana, the yoga relaxation, has been a key to open the door to meditation for me.In an effort to make peace with my overactive mind, I did Vipassana meditation courses in the 1980’s.Have you ever done one of these ten-day courses? They are conducted in complete silence. You do sitting meditation, alternating with walking meditation. This makes it less onerous for those of us who like to be physically active.I didn’t think that the sitting would be challenging for me. My attitude was, hey, I’m a yogi. How hard can sitting for an hour at a time be? Apparently, very hard!
I’m worried and ready to declare myself a Climate Yogini. I’m not sure exactly what that means at this stage. So far, it’s business as normal. We go about doing our laundry, planting vegetables, walking on the beach with very little threat that the weather will spoil our activities. But it seems to me that the times they are a-changin’, and not that slowly, and not just in Australia. You can google ‘global warming hotspots’ and you’ll see the areas that are most at risk.
There are countless events that can interrupt a disciplined routine. Extended holidays will do it. Being laid low with an illness, or suffering an emotional upset. Moving house and even changing jobs are other meddlesome events.
I tell myself that after taking a long trip, I will to get back into my practice as soon as I’m on home ground. Yet, it doesn’t always happen that way. As the folks of Westeros are prone to say, ‘Words are wind.’
All that matters in the end is that you take action. Getting right back on the mat and into a regular routine.
By making sure you practice a gentle, restorative yoga practice when you bleed, rather than a more dynamic practice, you’re supporting the healthy balance of your whole menstrual cycle. And by taking some quiet, rest time during menstruation, you’re putting ‘money’ into your ‘energy bank’ for later in your cycle, This will boost your overall health, energy and vitality.
From perimenopause, I made it through to menopause, the inevitable next stage. At this point, I made a conscious decision. No matter how I’d been conditioned as a women to resist menopause, I would open up to it. After all, it’s not a medical condition. It isn’t a personal insult. It’s a natural, organic stage of a women’s life.
The beauty of personal writing is that it can function to enhance our experience of living. To be able to write, we have to pay attention. The more this is cultivated, the more our ability to be present grows. Over time, if we keep writing authentically from our life experience, we see patterns emerge. These are the important threads that give meaning and purpose to our lives.
What are we yogis supposed to do in this time of discomfort and perhaps difficult adjustments? Probably just what we have been doing. Keeping up yogic practices: asanas, pranayama, meditation, relaxation.
And, particularly in the summer heat, let’s do quiet, cooling and calming yoga practice. Save the jumping around and through. Spare yourself sweating the long timings in poses. Keep the goal-seeking, perfection part of your personality in check. And chill.
Why I have I skipped the festival circuit? Because I’ve felt it’s easier to teach to my age demographic, in my own style and to do so locally.
I knew the Lost Paradise festival would be attended mainly by young people between 24-30 years of age. I thought it likely that these young yogis would be used to practising a more dynamic style of yoga than mine. And, a December end-of-year festival was going to be uncomfortably hot and humid.
Also, I didn’t know ahead of time how large the festival was going to be…