Friday, July 13, 2012

Still on the same theme...listening to my body and some Restorative Yoga!

As I predicted, it was a tough week with lots of tears and lots of needing just to be and not powering through. It's this weird balance that us widows need to find... somewhere between; grieving, moving on, and not wallowing in self pity. Joan Didion in The Year of Magial Thinking  shares of her journey, "We understand the aversion most of us have to dwelling on it. Visible mourning reminds us of death, which is construed as unnatural, a failure to manage the situation." How does one balance it all and still come out looking like a sane person?

The Counselor that I go to continually asks me, are there any days you find yourself not getting out of bed to go to work or crying all day? So I think on Wednesday, my anniversary, I was scared to do all these things but it was the right thing to do. I simply couldn't face the world that day and luckily I was in a position to indulge myself.

As I shared in my last post, I had missed yoga both Monday and Tuesday and had done nothing in it's place. Missing one day of exercise is normal, I usually only work out 5-6 days a week, but two in a row is not and I started to feel all weird and off balance. Also, I think laying around all day perpetuates restless sleep. You lay around all day so by night you aren't tired from doing nothing all day so then you don't sleep well. The next day you laze around to make up for the sleep you lost and it all just repeats itself. So by Wednesday I was in need of some physical exertion but I wasn't sure if I could face a whole power yoga class at the gym. All the faces, all the hellos, all the everything. So I began desperately searching for a Restorative Yoga class that evening.

Corepower, the studio that I practice at, does have a restorative class, Core Restore, but only a couple of times a week. There were none available that night at Corepower and I didn't have the energy to find my way to another studio so I practiced at home.

I have been to several restorative classes at this point and if you have been before, you know there isn't a lot to it. For those of you that haven't, in this class, you hold each pose for about 5 minutes. You also use props such as blocks, bolsters, towels, blankets, and my personal fav eye pillows. You let your body relax into the pose and it's amazing. You probably only do 10 poses throughout the class. It is clearly slow placed and while it is phsyically challenging to relax into the poses, the real challenge is keeping your mind quiet.

I first tried restorative when I was at the Sivinanda Yoga Ashram in the Bahamas. There was a workshop midday and I tried it out with some friends I had made at the ashram. I instantly feel in love and have been trying to go at least once a week since. This class was in a shelter in the middle of the trees and I still have a mind photo of the background as I laid in legs up the wall pose feeling the Bahamian breeze in my hair...ahhhh....I am drifting back here if you can't tell! (See picture below) It was peaceful and relaxing but also very emotional. I cried quietly in a few of the poses. I spoke to my friend afterwards and she also shared that she had cried. It's a pretty typical reacation to this type of class.

Restorative yoga not only opens up your muscles and joints but opens up your heart and forces you to face your emotions. The pose that really does it for me is pigeon pose, one of my fav poses at the end of class too. This is a hip opener and the hips are where we store a lot or our emotions so this once can be very emotionally intense.

I personally don't know how all this physically works but it does! Why else would I be crying during these classes somehow getting deeper in there... deeper into my muscles and my emotions. I read a couple of articles in preparation to writing this post but couldn't find any scientific answers as to why. Maybe there aren't any but I am going to do some further research into this this and report back.

In the meantime, I recommend trying a restorative class especially if you are in the middle of grieving and don't have a lot of energy. Restorative can be just right for this, something to give you physical exertion while opening your heart to your emotions, and tiring you out for a good night's rest. I included some links to articles that I used to put together a class at home. I hope you try this soon and find it as rewarding as I do.

Om shanti,


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