Taking the time to slow down seems counterintuitive in the springtime—a season that’s associated with growth and rebirth. But, taking the time to slow down on my mat has indeed made me feel rooted and ready to rock this season.
While a brisk vinyasa is my practice of choice, if I were honest with myself, some days the only pose I do is chair pose (as in desk chair). And that’s okay. I remember one of my first yoga instructors telling me never to take yoga too seriously. It was okay to take a break from the practice whenever I needed to—it would always be there when I was ready to come back to it.
She was right, of course, and I’ve lived that truth throughout my 20 years of being a student and a teacher. And while I never abandoned my mat for long periods of time, my practice has transformed over time. And that is how I came to be in a slow flow restorative class on a recent Friday night.
The last restorative yoga class I took was at least 15 years ago. I was probably the fittest I had ever been and I couldn’t make it through the class. The anxiety was overwhelming. I found nothing relaxing about lying still on my back with my chest open to the sky—I just felt exposed and vulnerable.
At that time in my life I needed to work up a sweat to wring every ounce of anxiety out of my body in order for my mind to relax. So that’s what I did. Two decades later I still prefer that practice for letting go but my body (and more importantly, my mind) does not require it.
So when I found out Jillian Pransky, another one of my early, influential teachers, was offering a 2-hour mini retreat I didn’t hesitate to register. Her teaching style is effortless, guiding one into stillness through mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, slow vinyasa, and yes, restorative poses.
Peace, not anxiety, flooded through me during practice, but it wouldn’t be until the next day I fully appreciated the shift in body, breath, and mind.
I was grateful for the opportunity to practice with Jillian again—it had been a few years—and wonderful catching up with her after class. When she asked if I still taught yoga I had to say, regrettably, no. But maybe like my practice, teaching would be there when I was ready to go back to it. I’ll just take it slow.