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I love the mornings where I can lay in bed with the blinds open and just let sunshine slowly wake me up. Those mornings feel very special to me, almost magical. Prior to COVID, I had few opportunities to do that. During the week, I woke early for work, and on the weekend, I was up early to teach a Saturday morning yoga class, and up again early for church on Sundays. There was really no opportunity to just sleep in and slowly boot up.

But that all changed when the coronavirus infiltrated our lives. Suddenly, I found myself with slow Saturday mornings and I liked it. Very much! Frequently, Howard would get up for a virtual men’s bible study and I would stay in bed and look out my window and slowly plan my day. I must have some cat in me, because I adore watching the twinkling sun and feeling it bask my face. The house is quiet and I love the stillness. It’s a chance to recharge, and no matter how much we love being busy and doing things, it is so good for the soul to periodically just be still and restore.

I remind students about this frequently in class. It’s probably hardest for those who come to the practice for a good workout. And there is nothing wrong with that. Often that is what brings students in the door. But I think what keeps people coming back, is how good they feel afterwards. Sore muscles are one thing, and they certainly do let us know we’ve done the work, but it’s how relaxed, grounded, centered, strong and spiritually connected we feel that inspires us to keep practicing. Yoga is like the fine threads of a tapestry. It weaves its way into the masterpiece that is you, becoming part of your soul and a way of life. It’s a place of comfort and support, especially when you are struggling with the intricacies of life.

It’s interesting for me to see how frequently students exit virtual classes during savasana, which is our final resting pose. (Although I’ve had many seniors who have chastised me for using those words!) It’s the time at the end of class for us to be still, quiet, rest, restore.

I once had an angry student stomp out of a chair yoga class when we took several minutes at the end of the practice to close our eyes, connect with our breath, and relax into a more meditative state. Perhaps my instructions were unclear, but as students were still and resting, she caught my eye and gave me an exasperated look. I mimed eyes closed, hands heart center. It didn’t work for her and she left.

Believe me, I know how hard being still can be. I was diagnosed as a child with hyperactivity. I was thumping and spinning and moving my way through life for a long time, but just as we all need to sleep, we all need to recharge during the day. For many of us, it’s having a cup of morning coffee and doing a crossword puzzle. For others, it’s sipping tea in the afternoon while flipping through a magazine. Or maybe it’s just taking a break from your desk and going for a walk … preferably in nature.

But the gifts we all receive when we can be still and connect are the invaluable insights we gain. Suddenly, the answer to something that has been bothering you becomes clear. Or you suddenly realize what you didn’t understand before. Over the years, I’ve had many of these ah-huh moments. The clarity is beautiful.

It’s something I encourage you all to find … your rhythm in stillness.

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  1. I believe this is a TRUE insight, and something with which we (too busy Americans) have difficulty. Yes, it’s fabulous that we have so many entertainment and activity options. But taking time to rest, reflect, and self-reflect is pretty necessary for living our best life. It’s not surprising to me that anxiety among young people is rising rapidly. We should ALL take some time in our day to be alone with our thoughts.

    1. And to unplug from electronics! I was reminded about this tonight while teaching a lakeside yoga class. The water was beautiful, the birds were singing, and yet, while students were in savasana, I looked at my cell to check the time and almost got sucked into reading a text message. It’s so easy not to be present. I’m grateful the practice of yoga keeps me accountable.

      I put my phone down, looked out at the water, and instantly felt more relaxed and happy.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us.

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