Happy Rainbow Pose to you.
(Otherwise known as Side Plank or Vasisthasana). I hope everyone is doing well this week. I am just back from my annual Summer Yoga & Wellness Retreat in PA and feeling restored and rejuvenated. The question I am asking myself now is: How do we carry forward the relaxed peacefulness we cultivate at a retreat, or on a vacation, into our "regular" life?
Here are my suggestions:
1. Spend time on your yoga mat. Whether at home or in a yoga class that you attend regularly, spend time on your yoga mat to drop into your body. Doing gentle backbends such as Cobra or Bow pose can stave off anxiety, Down Dog helps deepen your breathing while decreasing tension in your body and mind, and Savasana and Legs up the Wall pose are both restful for your mind, body and spirit.
2. Practice the mindfulness techniques you learn in class on your own. Once you learn something helpful in yoga class, practice it on your own to deepen your connection with it and develop a routine for your self care. At the retreat we do a walking meditation around an acre pond every morning. While walking, we inhale and silently say Just and exhale This. But, good news! You do not need to walk slowly around a pond to do this practice, you can also do it while washing dishes or drinking coffee or sitting on the subway.
3. Prepare healthy food for yourself. At the retreat we have had the culinary pleasure of eating vegan and macrobiotic meals and also smoked meats and fish from the property smokehouse. All the meals were fresh, healthy and prepared with love, and we enjoyed them immensely. We sat down and had our meals with conversation; there was no walking with coffee or eating on the run.
4. Go to bed earlier. There is very limited cell reception or WiFi at the retreat, and we honor quiet time from 10 PM to 8 AM. Plus, it actually gets dark out when the sun goes down, so going to bed earlier happens naturally. Maybe this happens to you on vacation as well. Try to continue getting more sleep once you are back in your everyday life. You can read many reports on how we simply do not get enough sleep. Or you can just take it from me and go to bed.
5. Have compassion for yourself when you get stressed out again. Be kind, gentle and understanding with yourself when stress takes over again. Stress is part of life, but how we react to stress is most important for our health. Remember, you are not in this alone. Everyone around you, even your yoga teacher, is doing their best to redirect themselves toward love and compassion everyday.