By Clara Hayes
As the year comes towards its end, wherever you are, whatever you’ve been through, we hope you get some opportunity for rest. Or, rather, we hope you make some opportunity for rest, as prioritizing rest must often be a conscious choice. For many of us, our nervous systems have been kicked into high gear for much longer than we’re accustomed to this year. We hope you can take some time to recognize all that you’ve been through. Even if you’ve shown up on your yoga mat less than a handful of times this year, we think you are magnificent, worthy, and more than enough. You deserve joy. And you deserve rest.
In pondering this concept of rest, the question keeps arising for me–why can resting be so difficult? We all know we need it. But truly resting (and no, neither doom-scrolling nor sleeping count as resting!) can be harder to sink into. The truth is, resting is absolutely essential and the list of benefits is endless! Rest allows us to access our parasympathetic nervous system, which is the opposite of “fight or flight” survival mode, and more so the “rest and digest” side of things. To name a few more: rest lowers cortisol levels, counters chronic stress, can prevent burnout, assists mental health, can boost your immune system, lower inflammation and risk for heart disease, and can revive your love of life, reinvigorating creativity and motivation, and energizing you to better show up in relationships.
So…why do so many of us brush it aside? Why do we get caught in addictive loops of busyness? How did so much of our restful time turn into numbing out time with social media and other distractions? Why is it that a vigorous yoga practice can be so much easier than stillness? Consider this: what if it’s because resting, at its core, requires vulnerability?
Think about it. Sitting with your true self, exactly as you are, without trying to change anything might require you to get a little uncomfortable, a little vulnerable. It might require you to face up to the fact that you ARE enough without having to do anything to earn approval from yourself or others. And if you don’t feel that way yet, it might show you why. The journey towards knowing your inherent worthiness requires sitting with shame and vulnerability. However, we’re of the mindset that that journey is so very worth it.
Whether you’re new to this practice of rest or an old pro, we’ve got plenty of opportunities coming up for you to wind down. Be sure to check out our list of restful offerings on our schedule. We’ll be right there with you, taking this journey together. Take care, yogis.
Also, check out Soul Strong Yoga’s online and self-paced Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Training at www.teachyogaforall.com. You’ll become a 200 hour certified yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance with a specialization in vinyasa yoga for all people. You will also learn more about restorative yoga, yin yoga, and mediation with our yoga teacher certification program.