Yoga IRL: Embracing Purposeful Stillness

When fall arrives in Montana, so do the germs. Within a matter of days, it seemed, we transitioned from sunshine and barbecues to everybody around me dropping like flies. Then suddenly, last Monday, I felt the initial dry throat and swollen glands that signal something is terribly wrong in the system.

But I didn’t want to admit it.

I fought hard against the pull to do what my body really needed: rest and recover.

Even yogis have to-do lists, and I wasn’t about to admit that I couldn’t get out there and teach my weekly classes. That’s when I remembered what yoga is really all about.

It’s about doing what is healthy and good for your body, even when you don’t feel like it.

It’s about making it to your mat, even if you’re just lying there in Savasana “Corpse” pose the whole time.

It’s about giving your body what it really needs, not necessarily what it wants…

… because what I wanted was to pound DayQuil and keep on trucking. But where would that lead me, except to a longer bout of sickness? So, I practiced stillness. Not an easy feat, that’s for sure. In our culture, we’re trained to maintain momentum at all costs – even when the cost is our own health and well-being.

It can feel like weakness to give in and just rest.

But if yoga teaches us anything, it’s that stillness in fact requires a great amount of strength. And in an intentional state of rest and recovery, we are sending an important message…

… to our bodies: that they are important and worth nurturing.

… to our kids, coworkers, and culture: that strength and power are sometimes found not in action and productivity, but in rest and quiet.

So, in this season of cold and flu, remember to slow down (and even come to a full stop) if it’s what your body truly needs. This purposeful stillness is not easy, but it is a natural extension of yoga practice and an important element of embracing a balanced life.

Thanks so much for reading – if you’d like to join me in a class, see the full schedule here. And don’t forget to follow the blog (below) so you never miss a post!