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Rachel: Yoga for restoration

When I first started out doing yoga, I almost exclusively did power or flow classes, intentionally avoiding yin or stretch, thinking that they would be too slow for me. I had wanted a challenge and how soaked my towel was after class was my indication of how good a workout I had. However, as I started going for more intensive classes, I often found myself burning out faster and faster and getting anxious if I was not achieving the peak or fancy poses. I was then curious if stretch and mediation classes could help me with my aches and relaxation, and relieve some of that anxiety.

I started going for yin/ restore classes, exploring meditation, sound therapy and gong baths— some of which I decided was not my cup of tea— but in the midst of it, grew to really appreciate slower-paced classes for restoration, and thereafter found myself often going back to power or flow classes more rested and open in my joints. More importantly, the stretching and slower paced classes gave me time during each class to appreciate and understand the benefits of each pose, correcting my alignment and not just filling the space of the pose in flows.

As I embarked on YTT and Jess told us in the first lesson that we would start each practice with meditation for as long as 20-25 minutes, I was shocked. I have never meditated before, much less sit in stillness for close to 30 mins. The thought of me drowning in my own thoughts scared me. Now, I really look forward to starting each practice just sitting, focusing on my breath and in stillness. So much of life is hectic and uncertain, slowing down and breathing in stillness has become somewhat of a luxury. I aim to bring incorporate that into every day— whether through meditation or a slower practice— to find slice a calm and gentleness even in the toughest or happiest situations in life.

Feb’20 Weekend YTT