My kids recently asked my Dad if he was ever electrocuted.
That may sound like a weird question for most grandfathers. However, my Dad is an electrician. He’s spent the bulk of his career working on power lines at a public utility company in Pennsylvania.
Even with the increased likelihood that someone in my Dad’s profession would say yes, I think my kids expected my dad to say no, that he had never been electrocuted.
Instead, in true grandfather fashion, he launched into a number of shocking stories. (See what I did there? Tee hee.)
In one episode, my Dad and his crew arrived on a call where a house was out of power. They flipped all of the switches and did all of the things one would do to make it safe to pick up power lines. When my Dad went to handle the power line, he was zapped and knocked flat on the ground.
It turned out that the house in question was using a generator but this generator had been wired incorrectly. Instead of putting power into the house, it was creating a back flow of power into the power lines.
What followed in the story was a step-by-step on how to properly install a generator. My kids love this kind of thing and they followed along with rapt attention. I fully suspect that in a few days we will have a generator hooked up in our house.
Anyway, while this story was unfolding, I was thinking about yoga.
In my Dad’s story, even when the power was switched off, the alignment of the wires was incorrect. There was power in the system but it wasn’t being channeled correctly.
This happens to us humans all the time.
We have so much power. So much capacity to make things happen, physically and mentally. But sometimes - lots of times? - the alignment of our metaphorical wires is off.
Yoga can be a tool for rewiring. It’s a practice in channeling our energy into the right places and to help us to tap into our power reserve.
What’s especially fascinating to me is the way Restorative Yoga supports our energy management system from a recharging perspective. So many of us are so deeply exhausted so often that our power system is never operating at full capacity. We make do on the equivalent of our electronic devices' low battery mode. Instead of powering down and recharging as recommended, we just keep running on reduced capacity.
Restorative Yoga is like a properly installed generator that puts power back into our system.
This happens best when our body feels supremely comfortable. Props are essential in this work. In addition to helping create a comfortable cradled-feeling of support and security for the body, Blankets, bolsters, and blocks do the following things:
Remove the muscular effort
Bring the ground to the body
Create a subtle expanding or opening
Increase flexion in the joints
Remove muscular effort
Make possible a supple, fluid, less restrained flow of breath and energy
If you are looking to replenish your own battery with a more comfortable śavāsana time, you’ll need some props. I recommend at least three yoga blankets, two to four yoga blocks, and one bolster (Hugger Mugger is my favorite brand.)