Hi, meet me! I'm not saying I'm the poorest person you know, but I'm probably close. Maybe I AM the poorest person you know that isn't just someone you pass on the street corner on your way to work, isn't your elderly relative living on a fixed income, or your distant cousin who's strung out on opioids. This is not to say I'm the poorest person on Earth. Its just to show you what its like to be really really poor in case you aren't. And to show you how I can't stop being poor no matter how hard I try.
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.
I do a lot of time lapses but I included a real-time clip of one of my yin sessions. The hardest part of a yin session is being mentally strong enough to push past the pain incrementally until your body breaks. Then the second hardest part is staying beyond your edge for a few breaths so that you move the edge back just a little bit at a time. Check out how long it takes me to get into my fullest forward fold in the second video.
This time lapse is one part Ashtanga through the floor series (Marichyasana A), one part targeting my weaknesses (knees and shoulders) and one part meditation. This location is The Peace Practice on Memorial Avenue.