Restorative Practices: You are still a warrior

As un-yogi-like as this may sound, for a long time, I used Yoga as my means of feeling like a warrior.

As a hot yoga junkie, I started out feeling like I was conquering myself. I did. With each sweat drop, with each 105-degree temperature, and with each limit I passed, I truly thought that I was. In each uncomfortable moment, I was slaying demons.

I found comfort in discomfort. My practice included an element of suffering, which was exactly what I required.

One shamanic practitioner (cue the hookey booked music) with whom I worked confirmed that a part of my healing involved finding peace in the middle of a practice where I actively sought out suffering.

Stoking the fire within

With time, I started to practice at a regular temperature. I studied pranayama and how to ignite that inner fire. By incorporating breathing techniques such as ujjayi breathing into my practice, I found that I could still sweat while getting the benefits of detoxification.

If someone brought up restorative practices, I would dismiss them. It was a pure joy to attend restorative classes. I felt like I wasn’t doing anything. I did not feel fierce. I felt like I wasn’t making progress with my asana. I thought that the time I spent on restorative could have been used to improve my physical practice.

These ideas, when viewed in retrospect, were a sign that my healing process was still ongoing.

As I made the transition from extreme heat into a normal temperature, I discovered the power of my breath. Restorative Yoga taught me the importance of support over time.

The Barrier of Independence

We often feel that needing help means we lack a warrior’s spirit. We want to be independent, fierce, and successful. Restorative Yoga was a sign that my body and brain were weakening. I needed to take time out to restore.

The idea that I would have to constantly face my fate, submit to it, and show that I was willing to overcome any limitations has been ingrained in my mind.

It sounds like a pretty good idea! That is quite a tall order, considering our entire existence is symbiotic.

The Eight-Limbed Path

As my practice evolved into a more inner journey, I came to understand the Eight-Limbed Path on a deeper level.

Yoga can help you rediscover your sense of wholeness so that you don’t feel as if you are always trying to put broken pieces back together. ~B.K.S. Iyengar

Unexpectedly, one afternoon, my instructor brought out props to guide a therapeutic exercise. She seemed to know how much I needed her. I initially resisted. After I was released and let myself be supported completely, I was in a very emotional condition.

This was a state of release. This was an opening, a deeper intimacy with myself. On that day, I peeled away another layer of my life.

Props are used to enhance the performance of a play.

Props are often used in restorative practices because prolonged poses can provide a deeper feeling of relaxation. As I laid on my bolster and allowed it to support my entire weight, including my thoughts, I started to see this prop as a symbol for those people who lift us in life.

Yoga is often a beautiful reflection of our everyday lives. We struggle, hold our breath, and resist to get comfortable again. Only in surrender can we achieve new levels.

During my restorative practices, I allowed myself the feeling of being fully supported. At that moment, when I gave my weight over to my prop, I felt elevated.

Slow Pace: A Gift

I work in New York City. Every day, I am surrounded by frenetic energy as I try to keep up with pedestrian traffic. I have never felt so peaceful on my mat. At the same time, my speedometer returns to zero only when I practice restorative Yoga.

Savasana has been a beautiful experience for me. Restorative practices calm the mind and soothe the soul on a cellular scale. This allows us to explore our minds at a slow, steady pace.

A deeper sense of self

Recently, I led my first Restorative Workshop. When I signed up for my teacher training, I never thought I’d lead a restorative practice. It was an amazing experience. I felt like I had opened a door in my journey as a teacher and that I had led the practitioners on a path of self-love.

Restorative yoga classes are often subdued, which helps us to focus our attention on ourselves and not external events. As the practice transforms into a sanctuary for mind and spirit, we can gradually direct our attention within. It allows us to look deeper at ourselves and what we desire.

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *