Tuesday, July 10, 2012

resting like a child

In yoga, there is a pose or asana called "child's pose" - or in Sanskrit, balasana.

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It's one of the things I look forward to the most in a yoga class or my own yoga practice. Child's pose is a resting pose - so during a guided yoga class the teacher might lead the group to rest in child's pose or to let you know that you can come to child's pose anytime you want to rest.

There are many ways to modify and customize this pose to suit the needs of your body at any given time, depending on what feels good to you. Hands by the hips or outstretched past the head. Knees together or apart. Placing blankets or pillows under the torso. Whatever's comfortable is how it should be for you.

Sometimes, a five-minute child's pose is my yoga practice for the day. Just being honest.

But there's something refreshing about coming back to this fetal position, in a way that lets you really feel and listen to your breath and allow it to slow down. To just stop whatever you are doing and unselfishly give yourself this time. Even if it's just a few minutes to scan your body or simply take a break. Or to give yourself time to respond to a stressful situation (or yes, even a stress-provoking interaction with someone) without saying or doing something you'll regret later.

I realize that when I'm in child's pose during a yoga practice, I never think about what the next pose is or should be. I don't question what I did prior to coming to child's pose. I don't watch the time. I don't try; I just let myself be. It really is blissful. Even if it's just for a minute.

Interestingly, outside of my yoga practice, beyond the mat -- this is a harder thing to master.

I was feeling burned out and unmotivated the last few weeks after completing a big project. I had been wondering why I couldn't shake off this feeling, this academic "writer's block". I finally decided to call a friend of mine who graduated from her doctoral program (thank you, EB for hearing me out... I am so grateful). She asked me, "have you allowed yourself to really rest?"

Then the light bulb came on. I really haven't. I was still trying to meet deadlines while on vacation time zones away in India, for crying out loud. 

Then once I completed the said project, I jumped on to the next one.

It's funny how we may tend to give ourselves fully to a task or project, but do a half-baked job at resting. I realize that even when I think I'm resting, I'm actually not. Because while I'm trying to rest I'm still thinking about work or feeling guilty about not working. I never truly shut off. So the rest time becomes counterproductive, because the guilt -- and all the other things going on mentally that keep me from resting -- are taxing. 

It's called child's pose for a reason:

image source

Babies... they do this so well. They rest 100%. No half-baked job here. Sigh.

I never thought resting would be hard to do. Yet it is. Somehow, eating chocolate chip cookies is much easier. ;-)

How to rest without the guilt. That is the question.

I'd love to hear from you, friends.

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Kristin said...

What a beautiful, truth-filled post! And one that I needed to hear today. I am a fitness instructor, and I teach an alternative to yoga that is a fusion of many different disciplines. I. Love. This. Pose. You're right, there is so much simplicity to be found in it. Such peace and stillness and just...being. I think I might just go enjoy it right now. - Lovely to "meet" you via your blog this morning :-)

Mia (Savor Everyday) said...

Great to "meet" you too Kristin! Thanks for visiting :)

"A fusion of many different disciplines" - I'm intrigued by that! I'll hop on over to your blog to learn more...

Hope you enjoyed your child's pose today!

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