Words like “snowstorm”, “blizzard” and “nor’easter” typically fill me with dread. How many inches will fall? How many extra calories will I consume? How long before cabin fever sets in? Given studio closures as a result of the first Jersey shore blizzard of 2016, I anticipated a home practice. How I moved through that practice was totally unexpected, yet long overdue.
It’s both difficult and unnatural for me to dial my routine down and make it more restful and rehabilitative. Rather than curse the current weather conditions and cancellation of classes, I took a cue from the stillness outdoors and allowed my home practice to reflect the same. I don’t devote nearly the time I need to a restorative practice, the value of which I was happily reminded during Gwen Lawrence’s Power Yoga for Sports program last weekend (thank you Jonas for holding off your strike!).
Today was a good opportunity in my physical practice to hold poses longer (five minutes in frog pose-OUCH!), sometimes using props, like my new cork brick for restorative fish pose (thank you for this one Gwen!) in order to open the body more deeply but also gradually and find comfort in doing so. On the mental side of the coin, I allowed the time in these poses to work on some newly acquired mindfulness techniques (thanks again Gwen!). I’m grateful and happy to have tools to better enable me to sustain these postures in a calm state of body (Inhale…create space, gather energy…Exhale…settle, soften, deepen) and calm state of mind (count breaths, scan the body).
Shifting my perspective (something that I feel I battle every single day) and seeing the gift in being snowed in brought me to a restorative approach to healing. I tell my students regularly to listen to the body, honor what it tells you and practice accordingly. For today, I used the weather I usually curse for it’s joint-stiffening frigid temperatures as an opportunity to follow my own advice. In the past week I completed a weekend-long intensive teacher training program and attended three master yoga classes. I am grateful and invigorated by all of these experiences, but they’ve taxed me, both physically and mentally. When I paused in the quiet, white peace out my window and listened, my body and my mind were asking me to slow down and take it easy (thanks Glenn). Feels like a good one to take off the mat. When you pause and listen, what do you hear?