Rest Days, my extra long shavasana

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Shavasana, corpse pose, final relaxation is what I consider the most important pose in all of yoga.  At Greensboro Downtown yoga I require my teachers to give students a minimum 10 minute Shavasana.  Why?  Because in our culture we need rest more than we need anything else.  You all push hard, I know.  I see it, I hear you talk about it, and I watch you pull your tired selves into yoga class and push even though you need rest.  Shavasana helps you find balance.  Push yourself hard in class and then fully relax into a well deserved Shavasana.  It's about balance.  Your body needs to rest.

I need the shavasana too.  Let's just say running a yoga studio, working full-time, running regularly and juggling the demands of life can be difficult to balance, difficult to find the personal shavasana of life.  Yes, I too struggle with balance, ironic for a yoga teacher (it's not lost on me).  Space for Alisha to rest, find peace, relaxation, and free time that is desperately needed to nourish the body and soul.  Those are actually necessary to spur creativity, repair muscles and leave you energized enough to follow through on a demanding schedule.  Shavasana on the mat, shavasana in life, it's a must.

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What happens when you don't make room for Shavasana in life?  My body is often the signal that puts up a big fat stop sign and forces balance.  The pendulum swung hard this time to force me to stop as I spent the first 3 days of my vacation mostly in bed sore from the race on saturday and nursing the tail end of a cold that will NOT let up.  This year has been a trial, mostly created by my own doing.  There has been little space for rest, recovery, balance and shavasana.

I've been training for last Saturday's 30k since the beginning of the summer.  I struggled a lot during the training for The 2014 Salem Lake 30k.  Finding the time to run seemed more challenging than normal, and emotionally I may be hitting a wall juggling a business and full-time job.  Emotions like to bubble up in your running if you aren't addressing them.  It's just like yoga, you can't ignore reality, you can't push the truth out of mind especially if you are someone in touch with your body.   Have you ever found yourself in tears in shavasana for no apparent reason?  Yeah, that's just like when you have a crappy run, after a crappy run ALL  SUMMER LONG.  They are signs.   Recently the parts of life I try to push down out of mind (even though I know you can't do this) are popping up in my yoga, in my body, in my running.  That's why my running doesn't feel good, it's why yoga feels hard.  You can't hide from yourself.  There comes a time when you need a break, a rest, especially if those things aren't already a regular part of your day or your week.  the Shavasana of life is so important and if you don't get it your body will tell you.  Self time is not something I'm good at working into my own life.    Do you do this?  Do you tell yourself you are fine, you can handle more, you sign up for the PTA meeting, you join the board of the non-profit when you know you don't have the time for, you say yes to the extra project at work that isn't necessary to your job?  All of a sudden you've taken away any "you time" but you think "What the hell, I can handle it".

I knew the wall was coming.  There was some planning for a week off from my day job and subs for all of my yoga classes.  A full week off from the day job, even a plan to go away to the mountain for a most of that time.  So what's the problem?  I let myself get too depleted that when a rest was finally available, my body almost completely shut down.  This lingering cold threatening my dreams of long spells on the yoga mat by myself, shutting down dreams of slow recovery runs in the mountains.  This week I spent A LOT of time in bed.

It took me most of the week to recover, I got a slow bike ride and a slow run in, but mostly it was a prolonged rest, a prolonged Shavasana.  Maybe you can learn from my error?  If your body is talking to you right now, listen.  If you are tired find a way to rest, maybe take the restorative yoga class instead of the power flow. If you don't do it your body will find a way to do it for you.