An Ode to Restorative Yoga

My favorite kind of home makeover shows are where they find something really valuable and unexpected under some badly designed wall or worn out carpet or boarded up fireplace.


Yoga practice is like this kind of makeover show.


We aren’t building a new house from scratch.


We are peeling away all of the layers of no longer useful stuff that covers up the brilliant stuff within.


And sometimes that process is very sweaty and full of hard work.


The Sanskrit word haṭha (as in Hatha Yoga) is sometimes translated as the metaphoric joining of sun and moon. However this word literally means a blow, a force, a strike, killing or slaughter.


Wow.


Nothing easy about that, right?


No wonder it feels nicer to describe haṭha as the joining of the solar and lunar energies!


The Middle Path


My teacher Cyndi Lee teaches that we can honor the practices and alignment of Hatha Yoga while we walk the Buddhist middle path. Yoga is more sustainable and often more effective when we aren't working so hard all of the time.


Cyndi regularly reminds us: “Not too tight. Not too loose.”


This always speaks right to my heart.


I have a tendency to be overly structured.


Rigid.


Mired in details.


Excessively planned.


I've been know to take the definition of haṭha a little too literally and I regularly make things too hard.


Enter Restorative Yoga


Restorative Yoga is such a huge part of what I practice and teach for this exact reason. For someone who is predisposed to overwork, the antidote is rest.


Restorative Yoga is an entire discipline devoted to attentive comfort and rest.