Hurry up and Rest!
Resting is one of the hardest things for us to do. Many yoga teachers even say that savasana (relaxation time at the end of class, also known as corpse pose) is the most difficult pose for many of their students. Relentless thoughts flood our minds when we try to make space and time to relax. We think that we should be using our time “more productively” or feel like we are slacking. When we do finally find time for rest, which sometimes is not until bedtime, we often still find it difficult to turn off the mind. We continue running through our to-do list in our minds, stressing about how we performed during an earlier meeting, or thinking about our busy schedule for the following day.
So what can we do to help ourselves become “better” at relaxing?
As a start, begin thinking of resting as an active task. This may see counter-intuitive, but we need to accept that our wired minds have become accustomed to multitasking and always staying busy. If you give the mind the task of focusing on letting go and pushing other thoughts aside, you will be able to rest much more peacefully. As the mind relaxes, your body will follow.
Spending a few minutes preparing to relax will also make a big difference. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare to rest by engaging the mind as you lay down:
- Do a body scan meditation. It’s easy. Close the eyes, and ask the muscle groups to relax one-by-one as you move down the body, starting off at the crown of the head, moving down to the brow, to the jaw, to the chest and eventually through all ten toes. Go body part by body part, and focus on letting go and relaxing the muscles
- Visualise yourself sinking into the ground. Accept that the ground is holding you, and imagine the tension leaving the body and sinking into the earth. Keep coming back to stillness, as though you are a corpse.
- In your mind, focus on the colours dark red and brown. Visualise your body surrounded by these grounding colours. If the mind wanders, come back to focusing on these earthly colours.
You’ll may be surprised that by taking time to rest, you can in fact be more productive for the remainder of the day. Try not to give into the restless mind by constantly keeping yourself busy. Wishing you a sweet relaxation!