Here is a great name for a yoga workshop – “Yoga for Nourishment”. It sounds so delicious, doesn’t it? The workshop was yesterday, Sunday afternoon, and it focused on restorative yoga and Yoga Nidra (which is a kind of meditative yoga).
Knowing that this would be the day after our big Harvest Open House at the winery and thereby the official end of our busy season (which this year seemed to start exceptionally early, like way back in February!) I thought the timing would be perfect to take the afternoon to myself for some much needed restoration.
I even made a point to register and pay in advance, just in case I was tempted to skip it at the last minute. I thought this would make me feel more obliged to attend.
Sure enough, Sunday afternoon rolled around and my back still hurt from standing on the cement floors the day before, and my voice was still quite hoarse from visiting with all our wonderful guests for seven hours straight. It was cold and rainy and Rob had built a fire in the fireplace. The temptation to stay just where I sat was great indeed. But I did it, I got up and went.
When I arrived I saw many familiar faces of my community. So many friends I love, and there is nothing like receiving a warm welcoming hug when you’re tired. Yes, I think, this is just what I need. I chose a mat next to a woman I don’t know well, she’s a customer at the winery and I like her a lot. She and her husband are somewhat new to town and I’ve been thinking how much I’d like to get to know them better.
This woman told me that she had been to this same workshop a month prior and it had been so wonderful. So calming, so restorative. The instructor, she said, is terrific and she found the whole experience very insightful. Ahh, see? This is just the thing.
We all settled in for the two hour class. The instructor was thorough and very gentle. She patiently gave us all of the instruction we needed. First an hour of restorative Hatha yoga with exceptional focus on breathing. Then the second hour would be the Yoga Nidra portion. Perfect.
Except for what was going on in my head. First, it occurred to me that I ought to invite my new friend on the next mat to a January dinner party I’ve been hoping to put together. Yes, that’s it! And then I thought of a couple of other people I wanted to invite. Oh, but they’re pescatarians, that might be complicated. Okay, wait. Think about this later, I told myself, now is the time to think about my breath. Right. Measured breathing. Inhale for a count of five and exhale for a count of five. Perfect. And again.
The instructor is talking about something called a sankalpa, which is basically a truth about yourself. Not an intention, but something you already know to be true about yourself. Certainly prompted by the name of the workshop, and the recent weeks of harvest and tending my elderly parents and my children I finish the sentence “I am_____” with the word “nourishing”. Yes, I think, this is where I get my greatest joy in life. Welcoming people into my home and feeding them good food for body and soul…
I know! I could serve Bouillabaisse! I love Bouillabaisse. I have a terrific recipe for it and it’s a perfect festive winter party dish. Wait. Stop. Don’t think about that now, don’t think about anything. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. Time passes, we move from one calming, restorative pose to a next.
I wonder if people had a good time at the Open House? Funny, so-and-so wasn’t there. Hm. The music was terrific. Oh, and it was great to see this one! If we have the dinner party in January, some people might be out of town. I should try to get an invitation out soon. Stop! I think this is what the more enlightened among us call “Monkey Brain”. And with good reason.
Breathe in, Breathe out. My back still hurts a little. Our Thanksgiving houseguests arrive on Tuesday, will it be in time for dinner I wonder? The instructor is saying “Imagine the color black, then blue, then green”. Do other people have as much trouble settling their mind as I do? Can my monkey brain be felt by those around me? Are my jumping thoughts tangible to them, and therefore disturbing their peacefulness?
Finally after about an hour, I start to relax a little. Not completely mind you, my mind is still drifting, thinking about things I have to do. I do know that I was startled a bit when the instructor started speaking again at one point, so I must have moved into a fully relaxed state, nonetheless my next immediate thought was “cranberry sauce”. Sigh.