During the hour and a half, I guided students through several hip stretches to better prepare them for seated meditation, taught them different breathing exercises and meditation techniques, put them into a series of restorative poses they could use before bedtime, and wrapped it all up with a yoga nidra session (a guided meditation). It was my hope that students would be able to take the techniques they learned at my workshop and apply them in their daily lives, even if they had only a few minutes to spare.
Because no one understands better than me that it can be tough to prioritize yourself on your daily to-do list.
It’s so crucial, though. Which is why I wanted to make it simple for people to be able to replicate these techniques outside of the studio, as a means of dealing with stress and burnout and anxiety and just plain old life. I also wanted to give them the chance to enjoy an evening of complete serenity, after which they could float home in a yogic haze and fall straight into bed.
And I think I pulled that off.
Still, it’s funny. Even as I teach this workshop (and I taught it again this past week because it was such a success last time), I worry about whether or not I’m giving my students their money’s worth. The other night, while I had everyone in crocodile pose, I joked that I didn’t want everyone to think they had paid $20 to lie flat on their faces.
“And if that was all we did,” quipped one of my students, “it would still be worth it.”
Which is telling.
Sometimes, people actually need to pay money in order to find an environment in which they can sit and breathe for an hour and a half.
And good on them for doing so. As I mentioned on my Facebook page later that night, it was gratifying to see so many people give themselves permission to just be with their breath for 1.5 hours on a Tuesday night. Because it’s a gift we don’t often give ourselves.
It’s a gift I’m finding more difficult to to give myself as a mother. But I still try.
If you missed this week’s workshop, you’re in luck. I’ll be teaching it again at YogaCentric in Clifton on Friday, November 7, from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. You can read the full description here. And you can pre-register for the class at the YogaCentric website.
I’m also planning a three-week restorative series, during which we’ll cover meditation techniques, restorative poses, yin yoga and, again, yoga nidra. Sort of like my workshop on crack. So stay tuned for more details on that.
Until then, I urge you to pause in your day. Give yourself a time out. And allow yourself to just sit with your breath. Close your eyes and breathe in and out through the nose, eventually allowing the breath to lengthen, allowing those longer breaths to further relax both your body and your mind. To relax even further, try to make your exhales even longer than your inhales. And just be there, like that. A few moments just for you.
(image by Mitchell Joyce, via Flickr)