My mind was racing. That familiar feeling of being pulled in a million different directions making my jaw clench and shoulders tense. Work, family, unpaid bills; today it seemed like it was all spinning out of control. The clock on my dash glowed mockingly at me as it ticked away, and what was with this traffic? It looked like I was going to miss my Vinyasa class AGAIN.
With seconds to spare I arrived at the studio, cheeks flushed and a vague awareness that I had been holding my breath for a lot longer than nature intended.
The sight that greeted me as I walked into this familiar sanctuary was the exact opposite to the frenetic energy that was oozing out of me. A soothing smile met my gaze; it was attached to my incredibly tranquil looking teacher who welcomed me in warmly.
I unrolled my little rubber landing strip and sat down, eagerly awaiting to move, bend and chaturanga my frazzled little heart out. The lights dimmed, my ears detected the familiar sound of the door locking, followed by soft footsteps.
“Hello yogis” she said in her serene voice. “Welcome to restorative yoga. Tonight we are going to focus on completely unwinding our nervous systems, while releasing tension in our hips and hamstrings”.
Right there. That moment you realise you have misread the timetable and Vinyasa is TOMORROW at 6pm.
The fight immediately started within the walls of my skin. I was tempted to leave, my monkey mind screaming at me that I was way too fried for this chilled out, gentle class. I needed to bloody MOVE!
Or so I thought.
Not wanting to be rude, I reluctantly followed her instruction and lay down on my bolster, chest exposed, arms wide open. My body was comfortable yet still my mind whirred on telling me that I was not going to enjoy this…. Then something peculiar happened.
Despite my racing brain, a part of me must have been listening to her cues because I noticed that I was actually breathing. Breathing not just in tiny sips, but in big, slow, rhythmic waves. I’d stopped anticipating my next move and felt the grip of anxiety starting to dissolve from my chest and shoulders.
As she softly guided me into a series of gently supported forward folds, twists and inversions, my once loudly revving thought factory had now slowed down to a barely audible hum. The mile long list of todays ‘must-do’s now seemed almost insignificant, do-able…. tomorrow.
Inhale. Exhale. Soften. Surrender.
Within that hour of guided bliss I acknowledged what my body had long been trying to tell me, to be still. I felt in earnest the weight of my bones, the softness of my face the gentle measured beat of my heart. I surrendered wholly to the stability of the earth beneath me. I had come in here feeling like I was floundering, I now felt completely supported.
“Namaste”, she said.
Still lying flat on my back, my eyes opened in surprise to see everyone sitting upright, hands to hearts, heads bowed. Hoping that I hadn’t killed everyones ‘zen’ by snoring through savasana, I moved in sloth-like bliss, amazed that an hour had gone by so quickly. I felt so calm, grounded and connected.
I heard a little giggle from my yogi neighbour, “You must have really needed that”, she said with a playful expression.
“Yes. Yes I did”, I smiled back.
And from that day on my practice took on a whole new level. I eagerly included “restore” to my weekly yoga schedule and feel today that it is probably more of a priority to me than my beloved vinyasa flow.
It is the yin to my yang, the soy to my chai, the cacao to my bliss balls.. Ok, you get it!