Here we are, in the peak of our local high season. We welcome the influx of snowbirds from the cooler climates and recognize that all the Coachella Valley has to offer is in full flight! As a health and wellness professional, I see many people with commitments to activities, fundraisers, galas, tournaments and all sorts of events who show up in class begging for some quiet time. I would like to suggest that we all take a page out of our own personal history book and allow for some down time. We could turn to the chapter on how kindergarteners manage life on a daily basis.
My memories of kindergarten include toting a napping mat with me to school. Mine was red on one side, blue on the other with a white piping around the edges. It wasn’t that thick, but I wasn’t that big, so it really didn’t matter. What did matter was that when it was time to rest, the mat dictated my own personal space, my own private sanctuary. When our quiet time was over, we all sat around drinking milk with graham crackers. What a life!
Unfortunately, that behavior wasn’t encouraged much after kindergarten and off we went, launched into the ever active, scheduled and goal-oriented world. Today, time-out has become a way for parents to manage naughty behavior. When I was a kid, it wasn’t called a time-out; it was “Jaynellen! Go to your room!” Once there, I would chill out until I felt it safe to show my face and join back into family life. Mind you, it didn’t happen that often (or at least I care to remember it that way!).
In our current cultural realm, we navigate our daily lives as though we are guiding a boat over a lake with threatening rocks lurking just below the surface. If we become careless or mindless or move too quickly, we might run aground and possibly stop our forward momentum. So we don’t stop…we just keep moving, plodding along through our to-do lists as we hear the pinging of our appointment reminders. But what would happen if we did stop?
My thoughts for this time of year are: How much can we slow down in our current life? Do we need to? What happens to us if we over pack our schedule? Do we begin to let go of the things that are supportive of us, such as exercising, making healthy food choices, getting sleep or having down time? What do we sacrifice in order to stuff more stuff into our day? At what point is it no longer beneficial to engage in such “busyness?” Is this how we intend to live our life?
I ask these questions for two reasons: first, because I observe and listen to many clients throughout the week who have hectic, full days; secondly, I’m about to have a full weekend off, my first in about a month, and I feel like I am bordering on the edge of fatigue. Similarly, when students come walking into a class asking, “Is it time for Savasana?” (Sha-Vah-Sana – or final relaxation pose; the final pose at the end of a yoga class), it’s fairly evident that it’s time to do less, draw inward and slow down. Writing about it reminds me that it’s as important for me as it is for everyone else.
One of my teachers, Judith Hanson Lasater, asks the question, “What would the world be like if everyone did Savasana for 20 minutes a day?” My question to you is, “What would YOU be like if you did 20 minutes of Savasana a day?”
I hope this has given you a little inspiration to head into your storage area and dig out your old kindergarten mat. Or perhaps schedule a morning where you awake without an alarm and stay in your pajamas until noon. Maybe do something out of the ordinary such as a restorative yoga class or spend time in a floatation tank. What may feel most challenging is to say “no” to that extra invitation and allow yourself to simply be present. And then, maybe grab some graham crackers and milk. Now that’s a worthy time out!
Jayne Robertson, E-RYT 500, is owner and instructor at Desert Yoga Therapy, a yoga studio located in the heart of Rancho Mirage. Visit www.desertyogatherapy.com or call (760) 456-5160, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.