Two days before I went on vacation I taught a yoga class. It was restorative style. I joked with the students about how difficult I find holiday-time, how it takes me a few days to slide from habitual busyness towards rest and days that are not filled with obligations and self-imposed duties — yes, they have a restorative yoga teacher who finds relaxation a challenge 🙂 Of course they took it well! I know I’m not alone in this and I know a teaching moment when it arises. So we talked about the layers of a restorative yoga pose, how to settle the physical body first, finding the basic shape and then refining it for best support and comfort, the breath then settles, and finally perhaps the mind and the busy thoughts we’ve unwittingly brought with us also begin to slow down. Just as my first days on holiday are a settling in period before I can let go more fully.
After class as they helped me tidy away the props, one student joked we were now in ‘baggage reclaim’ before the ‘passport control’ of goodbyes at the front desk and leaving the studio! It was a sweet class, not well attended in the summer time, but the kind of class you know has hit home for those who made the effort, and it’s worth it for that.
So now I’m a week into my holiday. And my observations of the degree to which I can embrace rest have been interesting. Yes, there have been some obligations to take care of — the offer of another teaching position which needs some negotiation, ongoing family matters requiring delicate and generous communication, a few student emails I didn’t yet respond to… But nothing more than that for this first week. There are some fun projects that I want to work on and holiday time is my opportunity, but I am deliberately waiting until it feels right to embrace those and I have the required energy.
For now I am revelling in lazy days such as I haven’t had for years. Hubby and I have time to talk (and talk, and talk…) which is wonderful. I lie in every morning (the idea of a morning run can wait!) and I also siesta each afternoon. We walk into the local village for coffee each day. Some afternoons we drive to the beach, on other days we have the pool. Yoga asana fits in somewhere. The between times are hours of simply sitting or a gentle walk. Watching the sea change and little boats pass across my view, the occasional excitement of a cloud in an otherwise perfect blue sky, listening to chattering sparrows close-by, the scream of swifts high above, and the occasional crow or buzzard calling as it sweeps overhead. Not forgetting the incessant buzz of crickets and cicadas.
I consume endless cold drinks and plates of fruit. I feel sweaty and my mosquito bites itch, but I don’t really mind. My skin turns brown and my hair curls from the sea salt. I pretty much live in bikini and shorts, footwear only when necessary. I feel reduced to basics in a wonderful way. It’s like I’m reverting back to some unadulterated state, a more natural version of myself before the imposition of work stress and daily chores.
Maybe I’m not so bad at relaxation after all 🙂 Maybe, like in a restorative class, you just need to set up the conditions that encourage relaxation and let nature take its course.