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On The 7th Day We Rest January 17, 2011

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in 21-Day Challenge, Changing Perspectives, Fitness, Health, Mantra, Meditation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Philosophy, Twin Cities, Yoga.
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Day 7

“And God finished on the Seventh Day his work which He had made; and He rested on the Seventh Day from all the work which he had made.

And God blessed the Seventh Day, and sanctified it, because that on it he rested from all his work which God had created in making it.” – Genesis 2:2 – 3

Even people who don’t believe in the Genesis story, typically know the story: the world is created bit by bit, breath by breath, over 6 days and then, on the 7th day, God rested. Religious people in the Judeo-Christian parts of the world celebrate the sabbath, a day of rest, even though they don’t always agree on when the 7th day occurs. And that sacred day of rest has become a part of our profane modern world. At least once a week, it’s nice to rest.

Sunday is usually the end of my work week. I’m usually pretty happy to see the week end. Normally, if I felt the way I did at the end of this Sunday, I would go home, eat, and crash without setting an alarm. I’d bask in the fact that I didn’t have to be anywhere in the morning. Monday, my day of mostly rest, would start as soon as I got home. Today, however, was Day 7 of Yoga Journal’s 21-Day Yoga Challenge; and I still had stuff to do.

After taking care of some housekeeping chores in the morning, I sat for 5 minutes and then started preparing for my class. Ironically (after yesterday’s blog entry), I didn’t spend much of my class prep time doing asana. But I did do a lot more demonstrations during class than I might have done with a different sequence. I felt energized after class and yes – yes! – ready to meditate. Luckily there were no classes directly after my morning class so I plopped myself down on a block and proceeded to do my 18-Minute guided meditation.

I had a whole basketball court sized studio to myself, with morning light streaming through the windows, and it felt super good. So good, that when my alarm didn’t go off at the right time I just kept going. My 18 minutes started drifting towards 30 minutes. My body didn’t complain. Much.

I had two more classes to teach after my lunch break. Despite the fact that I didn’t do a full out asana practice in the morning, I felt focused and ready to go. Ready even, to deal with all that came my way. It was fun. Still, at the end of the day, I was ready to crash. Ready to rest. An evening practice should have felt perfect. Oddly enough, my body and mind did not cooperate.

I got home a little earlier than usual and decided to read for a few minutes. No problem there. I was relaxed, but not overly sleepy and had no problem focusing – or sitting still. However, when it came time to do the 20-Minute Evening Sequence with Kate Holcombe I felt like my skin was crawling. I was restless, cold, and had a hard time keeping still and steady enough to do the practice. Time and time again, I wanted to either move more – and do something a little more vigorous – or move less, and go directly into Savasana. I tried a little bit of both, but I had a hard time enjoying the practice.

Don’t get me wrong: the practice itself was fine. I’ve done different elements of this practice before and I really enjoy doing a little restorative yoga. The instruction was clear and precise. It should have been one of those sublime experiences. Especially since, here was the Savasana I’ve been begging for all week! Tonight, however, I needed a little something different. I stuck with it, because part of my commitment was to do the video sequences. If this had been a class in a studio, with a live teacher , however, I would have modified the practice. If I had just committed myself to being on the mat for 21 days, I also would have modified more or called it a day since I did the meditation early in the day. Either way, today became my own personal reminder of what I tell my students all the time: Sometimes practicing yoga is not about practicing asana. Sometimes union comes with rest.

~ Shanti, Shanti, Shanthi ~