Rest, Paralysis, Conviction

Any yoga teacher, who is also inclined towards writing and thinking, will eventually write about rest and relaxation. If there is a goal to our physical practice, it is being able to rest and relax in a deep and a profound way. Our classes usually end with a period of rest and relaxation, but a period of relaxation that often is too short and not entirely satisfying. Rest and Relaxation have a natural course to take and ten or fifteen minutes might only be just the beginning to that course. A half hour to an hour might be more like it. And in that time a number of distinct and rather interesting experiences can occur, and be recognized, if the practitioner remains conscious and awake. I always like to mention that there are no rules I know about against falling asleep during the rest period. It is allowed and probably necessary for those of us who are really extremely tired or sleep deprived and a whole lot of us are.

Yet if you do remain mostly conscious and awake during a period of conscious relaxation there are some features to the experience that are worth mentioning and taking note of. Perhaps quickly, or maybe after 10 or 15 minutes of remaining still, supine, and comfortably supported and warm, we begin to sink away. We get to feeling heavy, immobile, gently paralysed. The sensation can be greeted with panic or as a welcome relief from all the frantic and frenetic activity we usually are engaged in in our active lives. Welcome the paralysis, surrender to the immobility, let it have its way with you.

You may notice a reversal of circulation in the body. A hot head becomes cooler and hands and feet may warm. The images and echos, that usually fill our dancing and prancing minds, quiet down and become less insistent that we pay them a lot of attention. What a sweet repose we enter into and then there is the growing conviction that we might never move or do anything ever again. Ease, peace, quiet, rest, relaxation, bliss become who and what we are. No more no less.

Inevitably and eventually we emerge from such a state but emerge rested, refreshed, and maybe a little more in tune with who we are naturally and a little more at home in our bodies and in the universe.