Monday, May 11, 2009
Ritual #17 Restorative/Renewal Yoga Class
Yesterday for my ritual I took a restorative yoga class at Yoga Blend in Burbank. I wasn't sure what to expect. It sounded relaxing and that I could perhaps learn new restorative/grounding techniques. I have been doing yoga for like 10 years but generaly like a flow like Vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga. I went in with an open mind.
This is my friend, Portia's description of the class.
Its Sunday night restorative yoga at Yoga Blend in Burbank. Its a series of healing and de-stressing poses to start your week off just right so what better way to start your new year and next stage of life off.
Yoga Blend's description.
Restorative - For anyone wanting to de-stress and renew their entire being, this soothing class is a great choice. Restorative yoga works with the nervous system and the endocrine system to bring the body into a state of balance and relaxation. Props are used to further support the body, realign the spine and deepen this relaxed state.
So Portial unfortunately had a migraine and couldn't attend the class but she was there in spirit. I've been to this studio once before to take an Ayurveda class. I went into the studio and was directed to a setup of props where I layed out my yoga mat. It is a large spacious room with a gorgeous wooden floor. The following props I had at my disposal was a bolster, two blocks, 3 blankets, and a sand bag. First we gathered together for 3 Oms. The sound reverberated in the room beautifully. We set an intention based around the fact that Mecury is currently in retrograde which causes breakdowns in communication. It is better during this time to slow down and reconnect with your body/core and not be so focused on getting things done and be in too much head space. With that intention to refocus my energy from my mind to my body I continued.
Some of restorative yoga is like playing follow the leader. It consists of a lot of moves that you use props to support your body. Bolsters are leaned against blocks, while blankets are positioned in such a way, etc. In the 90 minute class I feel like I perhaps moved into 4 positions. This was a very challenging class for me in a lot of ways. I was in a studio on a mat, my body wanted to move! I am so used to moving until I get into stillness. Not just stopping and finding stillness in the surrender. The first move was legs up the wall. That one was very fascinating as after awhile the activity and soreness of my feet/legs went away. Its so amazing how much support we ask of our lower extremities, to get us to point a and b. It was good to give them a break. The blood rushing to my brain, pouring out of my legs was a little overwhelming after awhile. I breathed through it however. You reach all these different peaks and drops when you hold a pose for over 10-15 minutes. I could feel my body becoming frustrated. I was reaching out my ears to hear the teacher say we could move. I tried to let go of that for awhile and surrender more into the pose and find my stillness. I would find it and then lose it again at times. I would doze then come back to myself. It was such a different experience for me. I am used to my body begging for moves to release and rest between more challenging moves. After doing a series of back bends getting into child's pose is a blessing and I can completely relax into it. Going there without the activity is such a different experience.
In some ways is this symbolic of how I approach life. I rush rush rush all day and then feel like I collapse at the end. Perhaps it is healthier to take these moments for stillness throughout the day versus just collapsing at the end of it. I was thinking of taking a more intense class after this one. I didn't feel sore, sweaty, etc after it. It felt at first like I had done nothing. I resisted taking another class and just tried to get in touch with what work I felt like I had done. When I went inside i felt like I had created a deeper well of stillness and strength. It felt like a more secure and strong stillness then I have experienced in myself usually. I feel like I would like to try to explore more of this and create this deep well inside myself. It felt like more of a meditation practice and that I stretched my psyche versus my body. Perhaps the message that I should physically feel the changes is a very Western approach to take. I cannot take the value away of the mental/emotional changes that I felt at the end of the 90 minute class.
Hopefully I can maintain this stillness even in the presence of stress. That is my goal/focus right now in my life. Especially as a therapist I need this skill. I think as a therapist we are like weathermen. We willingly volunteer to go to the heart of the storm. I need to find my grouding so I will not be swept away with it.
This was a very interesting experience. The more time I have to reflect now, the more I think I really got a lot out of the class. Thanks Portia!