I walk to the Gloucester Unitarian Church 5-days a week to lead morning meditation. Last Tuesday, I got a late start, so anxiety quickened my pace. With my rushed steps, I added tension and stress to the walk. Of course, I made it to meditation on time, but I also decided to set out ten-minutes earlier for my walks. These extra ten-minutes give a boost to the quality of my day. No more rushing, a bit more relaxing. Part of the deep healing I need to do in my life involves noticing and letting go whenever I slip back into habit-stress and habit-struggle. The extra minutes give me time to walk slowly, to rest and relax, to let go along my way.
Every yoga pose will be stable and comfortable (sukha). Yoga Sutra 2.46 ~~Patanjali
Calming and relaxing is a big part of the quality of practice it takes to awaken in both Yoga and Buddhist practice. Moreover, in the end, so to speak, the Awakened yogis looks and feels calm and relaxed, too. Writing in Yoga International online, yoga instructors Robert Svoboda and Scott Blossom say, The yoga term sukha means “happy, good, joyful, delightful, easy, agreeable, gentle, mild, and virtuous.” The literal meaning is “good space,” from the root words su (good) and kha (space).
Consequently, the mental/emotional space of an accomplished yogis will be stable, easy, restful, mild, gentle, and virtuous. What’s more, the practice that takes her there will ask her to find joy, relaxation and ease in every pose, on and off the mat along the way.
Here is a link to Svaboda and Blossom’s on the role of relaxation in yoga practice at Yoga International : yogainternational.com/article/view/sthira-and-sukha-steadiness-and-ease
In Buddhism, the Seven Factors of Awakening Ask Us to Rest and Relax, to Experience Joy, and Equanimity Along the Way.
However, in our lives today we barely have time to eat properly or to get the sleep we need. We are constantly harried by long commutes in heavy, sometimes angry traffic, by our smartphones, computers, the nightly news, and by our jobs. So, it perhaps goes without saying, but now more than ever, we need to find time to rest and restore. Rest is not optional. Thich Nhat Hanh writes,
Resting is a very important practice; we have to learn the art of resting. Resting is the first part of Buddhist meditation. You should allow your body and your mind to rest. Our mind as well as our body needs to rest.
Here is the link to this useful article on the art of resting by Tay at Lions Roar. It’s called Resting in the River: www.lionsroar.com/resting-in-the-river/
And here is a link to a short post on the importance of relaxation on this sweepingheartzen.org/no-matter-what-relax/
I hope you enjoy these articles and that you find or make enough well deserved rest this week.
Have a wonderful week!