In with the Old and the Young

Over the holidays, I had class requests from people in my neighborhood. On one side, the kids in the hood were bored and remembered that I teach yoga; on the other, elderly relatives of all ability levels fly in from the cold, easing their way into retirement. For the most part, they are brand new students.

Peace starts at home– and starts as early as 0 days old. Yes! It’s true. You can start yoga anytime, anywhere. You don’t have to go to a fancy studio or be a size 0. You just have to want to take care of yourself, a lesson peace students learn about working in the field. Even in yoga, it’s important for the instructor to take some classes or some time for oneself. It helps you to keep the creative juices flowing.

In fact, I was inspired during a morning bike ride in the chilled air on Tuesday. In my classes this week, I asked students to rest in Savasana. Now, Savasana is translated as “corpse pose”. I had never told most people that it is called corpse pose, because it is scary to think of yourself as a corpse. But this week, I was honest with the students. I asked them to lie in corpse pose, and think of themselves as a part of nature, being rejuvenated, during the winter. I asked students to be inspired by nature around them this time of year.

In cities in California, we have trails within cities. In my town, trees grow randomly on one particular trail, and this time, I noticed the white-barked trunks and branches with golden leaves fallen beneath. The trees stood stately and tall, inspiring awe in passers-by. The leaves that had run away from their homes blanketed the earth underneath, providing warmth for the roots of many plants (and animals) that needed the heat. They eventually decompose, giving off nutrients into the soil and air. The leaves might be considered “dead”; and yet they are still living–and giving so much to the world around them!

I was in awe. I began to think of other parts of nature that had similar methods of being dead, yet alive: the bear in hibernation, the alligator sunbathing on the rocks, turtles hidden in their shells…. the entire world rests in order to conserve energy and come back with strength to face the world.

We too, as humans, can use savasana and yoga nidra, and the general yoga practice, to help us navigate through life in a peaceful manner. Children can use this opportunity of yoga to stop their minds from the ever-growing complexities of the modern world. (They also burn energy, which is usually a bonus for parents.) Seniors can use yoga to ease into retirement, helping slow down the pace of things as they take a hibernation period before starting a new chapter of life.

This week, I asked all my students to enter into savasana by remembering the amazing natural world around them, and how they rested completely. Students who tried, experienced a profound difference in their state– relaxed and energized.

Take a few days of deep relaxation before you come back in the new year to challenge yourself once more, growing and deepening your practice of peace.

See you next year!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. George
    May 02, 2011 @ 21:33:41


    you write well



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