Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Body Wisdom: Making Yourself Comfortable


Last night I had trouble sleeping. I was once again up during the late middle of the night. Something different happened for me this time though. My mind wondered off to yoga class--restorative yoga to be specific. 

Monday's restorative was very physical. It was more focused on the body than I am accustomed to. At first I didn't think I liked this different approach but then gradually it grew on me. Our instructor noticed the low energy in our group. Sometimes you just go to restorative yoga to relax and kick back. That is what most of us seemed to be doing. To remain in that state may well have caused our day to be static, low energy and to lack flow. Slowly but surely our teacher set about finding ways to energize us.

We got our blood flowing through flowing postures and moving meditations. I especially enjoyed eagle pose. It was a new challenge. Since I had broken my ankle I don't think I had stood on just that one repaired foot in ages. I felt accomplished.

What really resonated with me though was the wisdom within my body. Connecting my mind to my body to find out what my body wanted and what it needed brought about comfort. In restorative, often our teachers ask us to do what feels most comfortable. Sometimes that means bolstering ourselves with pillows, blocks and blankets but other times it means taking the postures deeper--challenging ourselves.

Last night when I had that trouble sleeping my mind immediately wondered back to Monday's yoga class. I checked in with my body to see what I could do to make it more comfortable. How should I lie down or did I indeed need to get up and walk around?

Listening to the subtle cues from my body I did get up and get the blood flowing well by walking around the house. I took an herbal supplement in the form of relaxing Valerian root, and then went back to bed. I focused in on how my legs touched one another and decided I needed to separate them at the knees with a pillow. I took mental inventory of how I was holding my hands, were my finger tips comfortable or were they in awkward postures that led to distress? How about my tongue and jaw? Were they holding stress from the day too? With the answer being yes to all of these questions, I set out to relax my jaw and tongue--taking it away from the roof of my mouth and creating a pocket of breathable space.

Immediately I began to yawn. In no time at all, I was returned to a very comfortable, deep and blissful sleep. Thanks to the lessons of the previous day's yoga practice I had licked insomnia and will continue to use those comforting practices, one day at a time.

8 comments:

  1. Hey Stephanie, I did not know that you were into yoga too.I realise after reading your post that I too end up unknowingly clenching my jaws throughout the day and hold stress there...I'm gonna be conscious of it now on.Thanks for the insight.

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    1. Oh yes Vinodini! I love it and it sounds like you do too. Sometimes those subtle shifts that yoga invites can be so meaningful and transformative.

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  2. I've never done yoga...sounds like a great idea! I didn't know it could give you energy, actually. I thought it was all about relaxation.

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    1. Yes Stephanie, there are all different sorts of yoga with different purposes and ways of being practiced to meet your intentions. Restorative, which I was talking about in this post, is about restoring and healing the body, bringing it back to a healthful state so a combination of relaxation and energetic work is useful.

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  3. I always have a hard time falling to sleep. I guess I need to listen to my body more, but I have metal in my spine and it tends to have a loud mouth. haha I wish I could do yoga, but because of my back I can't move or do the poses that are required. :(

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    1. Chrys, I do think as creative people our mind stays very busy. I hope your body cooperates with you most of the time. I have metal in my ankle and forearm and it plays up sometimes too.

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  4. Lovely post Stephanie, thank you. My late mother was a yoga teacher .. Hatha Yoga. I could tell stories! The body knows ...
    Garden of Eden Blog

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  5. Thanks Susan! What a lucky woman you are to have been raised by a yoga teacher--hatha of all forms.

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