"Resting" is still yoga

BackNamasteYogaDay

Because I'm a Pitta, I can be very competitive, which, as most of us know, is the opposite of what yoga is about. For example, I have trouble taking Child's Pose sometimes in between postures--I work to push myself in competition with others (and myself), which I don't like.

In one of my favorite yoga books, Meditations from the Mat, the author speaks to this. Rolf Gates says,

We need to learn to make rest a part of our practice, and we need to take that rest long before we feel exhausted or frustrated... If you begin to think of rest periods as an active part of your practice, you will stay in tune with what your body is telling you, and act accordingly.

It's so true. As a yoga student, I literally will force myself to take Child's Pose sometimes just to get out of my competitive mode--to calm myself--to come back to myself. As a yoga teacher, I see many students who act as my student-self--pushing beyond their breaking point. It's comparable to how many students (usually beginners, but sometimes more advanced) will not take modifications of ANY kind--even though, they really should. When I teach, I always say (and I've heard others say this too), "Taking a modification does not make you weak. If anything, it makes you stronger in your practice, because you're listening to your body and giving it what it needs." This goes back to how many of us Pitta types should actually try taking modifications to get out of the competitive-crazyness in our heads.

So many beginning students are uncomfortable with taking the modifications. In my teacher training, we were told to purposefully take modifications in any of the classes we took, so that beginner students would see us, and thus, feel more comfortable to come into Child's Pose, or to take Revolved Crescent Lunge with our back knee on the mat. You notice when teaching yoga that when one person takes a modification, others begin to feel comfortable taking one, too.

Each time I practice, I still work to feel good about taking restorative and "resting" postures, but I'm doing much better with it. It took me quite sometime to feel comfortable and completely let go while in Savasana, but it finally happened. I also try to laugh at myself when I feel I'm getting competitive. Because, really, yoga shouldn't be so serious. Yoga is fun, damnit.