I feel like God herself showed up with her wings out wide for a magic embrace that whispered a message that it will all be ok.
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.
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.
Yesterday evening Tumbleweed was on my front porch staring at my car. An uncomfortable feeling began to creep up in the pit of my stomach, "look at your wheel" he said. "Flat". Ugh, maybe a nail through the tire, I'm not sure. Tumbleweed like the gallant man he is dressed in his button down shirt and good pants began to make a move towards the spare. "Hold up" I protested "we aren't putting the spare on". This was the icing on the cake to a very frustrating week. The type of week where nothing quite falls into place. You say the wrong things (more than once I might add), your running doesn't even feel good, and you get the distinct feeling you are knocking on the wrong doors. If I'm being honest with myself these feelings of frustration, of feeling out of synch have been going on a lot longer than the past week.
Tumbleweed and I stood looking at my car not saying anything for more than a few minutes, It wasn't dramatic, but it put us both into a state of reflection. It's just a flat tire, worse things have happened, but this was a sign. This was a big fat, red stop sign plowing into me and I knew I needed to digest the lesson.
You might say I'm crazy, but this flat tire was asking me to look at something other than my flat tire. It was saying "Wake Up!"
It was saying...
Alisha You've hit a limit. There is only one of you! You don't need to be productive every single minute of every day." Why do you think you need to move, move, move and do, do, do?!"
My mind was thinking of plan B as I stood in front of my 14 year old dirty VW with a dumb look across my face. I was reflecting, knowing that leaving the car parked for a least a day would be the best medicine I could take to break out of my funk. I have a bike, I have two strong legs, I'm sick and tired of rushing around everywhere trying to do everything, trying to check a million items off of my to do list.
I could not think of a single good reason to fix the tire immediately. We took Tumbleweed's car, got a bottle of fix a flat and went to Green Valley Grill to split a bottle of wine and call it at evening. I'll use the fix a flat Monday and fill up the tire, drop the car off at Firestone on the way to work.
In the mean time I rode to teach yoga today. I had to slow down, I couldn't just run out the door and start a car. I had to be present and plan a bit more. Where was my helmet, bike lock, did I want to stop for breakfast after yoga? Was I dressed properly, did I have everything I needed. A bike slows you down causes you to focus on the moment at hand, see the pavement beneath you, the air on your face, the climate of the day, of the hour, it's a mediation of immeasurable value. It's a perfect pause button.
later I may ride out to visit Tumbleweed 15 miles down the rd. I may decide to take a nap. I've already spent the better part of the last two hours at deep roots enjoying a leisurely brunch and coffee while I pondered this post, something I enjoy but rarely allow myself the time to do.
The many hats I wear have me going every which way, it's all my own doing, and I'm aware of that. I love my hobbies and I'm fiercely competitive at work and sometimes play, but there comes a time you have to say "ENOUGH!". The flat tire reminded me it's really ok to hit the pause button. Rest is just as important as work and productivity. Just like running, cycling or yoga you can't get stronger if you don't take your rest days! You can't get innovative or creative unless you take time out to rest and reflect. I know that intuitively and through experience, but often I need to be reminded.
What calls you out? What helps you hit the pause button? How do you slow down when you know you are going the wrong speed?
I'm taking inventory of the many aspects of life today and I'm only going to do what feels really good and really right. I'm going to finish this blog post, pedal home and then decide if it's a nap that feels best. I'd encourage you to take inventory too, to stop and do what feels best to you.
Wearing the "Chill out Hat" yours, -Alisha