What do you do to relax?
My yoga tutor asked us this question in one of our very first classes and out came the usual answers: A glass of wine, a good read, seeing friends, gardening, walking the dog, watching a film or trashy television, exercise… Then we began to unpick the threads of these answers; is it relaxation or is it distraction? Our bodies can be relaxed, but our minds still buzzing. If our bodies are working and our minds are calm, can that be relaxation?
And as we talked and tried to think of ‘real’ answers, my mind wandered and I thought to myself: ‘Do I ever consciously relax?’
When I started practising yoga I used to spend the first 40-50 minutes of the class going through the motions. I didn’t invest myself in the physical practice and in hindsight, didn’t really enjoy it. I longed for the breath work, to lay down in darkness, being lulled into a half sleep/half awake peaceful calm state. To me, that was relaxation.
So, I was spending 20-30 minutes, once a week, purposefully relaxing.
I don’t know about you but I look at that sentence and think how saddening it is. I’ve no idea why I signed up for my first yoga class, I was drawn to it and just went with the feeling. I’d never seen yoga, been to a class, and nobody I knew did it. But thank goodness I went, it has been my steady anchor for 24 years now.
So, what do you do to relax?
I don’t watch people in my classes during breathing practice and relaxation, as I feel that would be intrusive; we can sense when we are being watched. I am always present, and periodically glance around to make sure everyone is okay, but I feel that if that half hour is all someone gets to truly relax, I want it to be the best possible half an hour of relaxation I can facilitate. Those glances though, seeing a room full of people content, calm, quiet, still, and feeling safe… that makes me feel amazing.
I saw this a while ago (credit on the photo) and thought how interesting it was – different ways to take a break. Very few would be complete relaxation to me, but we are all wonderfully different. I always have a million things on my ‘to do’ list, but today I had twenty minutes before a friend came over for a meeting (aka having my nails done and chatting to a kindred spirit). I lit a candle, played the Gayatri mantra recorded by Sarah O’Connor and did nothing else. It was just peaceful and relaxing.
So, what do you do to relax?
If you fancy trying one of my classes, you can find out about them here. As you might imagine, I place an emphasis on breathing and relaxation. I also offer one:one sessions in your own home, so get in touch if you’d like to arrange one, or perhaps you know someone that would like to have one. I can visit hospitals, places of work, people of all shapes, sizes, physical abilities. And if time is scarce, I also record bespoke relaxations to download and use as many times as you like. What’s not to love?