140805 Rest Day Theory and Yogi Time Lapse

Today's grain of wisdom to roll around is the notion of a recovery day. One might think - "A recovery day from yoga?! I thought yoga was active recovery." One might not be considering all of the variables.  When a person dedicates his or herself to a "daily" practice that means daily for a LIFETIME. That is a HUGE mental burden in and of itself - physical practice aside. In order for the spirit to feel fresh and ready to receive the benefits of a daily yoga practice (or any discipline for that matter) a rest day is essential. Does that mean you lay on the couch and undo the work you have done. Not necessarily - but the occasional "treat yoself day" is sometimes just what you need - that's a completely different subject though. 

A rest day means something different to everyone but I do encourage you to examine you practice, whatever it may be, and scale back your efforts to 25% or less of what you might normally take on.  For example, yesterday I did a 15 minute meditation.  I'll spare you the time lapse its really boring.  Before bed I was feeling tight in my low back and hips so I did pigeon, cow-face pose, and seated spinal twist - maybe 10 additional minutes of yoga on top of my meditation. Just enough to keep me limber but enough extra time for a nap.  I was really tired and I need more rest than even yoga could afford me. Today's power practice just reinforced what a good idea that was. I nailed poses that are normally just beyond my ability because I'm "too tired" or my shoulders are sore...so on so forth. Today there were no excuses - just powerful, fun, refreshing vinyasa.  It felt so good.

Just as yin yoga is a mental challenge, creating a healthy lifelong relationship with you practice can also be deceptively difficult.  Give yourself a break, enjoy one day off a week and see your practice and your gratitude for your practice take on a whole new depth.