Dear Yoga Student,
Rest as a Radical Practice
So much of my teaching and practice is an invitation to rest. We have been programmed by our upbringing and society to be competitive, consumerist and totally accepting of hierarchical systems. We are often required to work ourselves long hours merely to survive, let alone to succeed. However, the reality is, to truly thrive in this post-pandemic world, we will need to be rested. When we are in the rested state we can access the qualities like connection, trust and the ability to share resources. These states of mind enable us to collaborate within a network of people who we value equally for their contribution to the whole.
Equality for Essential Workers and Carers
We now know that the truck driver is as important as the CEO; the cleaner is as important as the doctor; the farmworker is as important as the celebrity chef. We’re also now really clear that caring is one of the most essential and treasured of contributions a human can make to society. We have all depended upon someone to care for us at some point in our lives, we need to honour and value this quality far more than we do currently. In this way, care workers can get the rest they need to enable them to be patient, calm, focussed and attentive in their roles.
From Hierarchical to Networked Systems
Now is the time to shift our thinking to create kinder, fairer and more resilient workplaces, institutions and systems. We are facing nothing short of a huge paradigm shift as many systems strain to deal with current conditions. Food systems; energy systems; health systems; economic systems; transportation systems; political systems; education systems; legal-justice systems are all reaching a tipping point whereby they will have to significantly change. It is a time to look for opportunities to rebuild systems in such a way that fully respects the part each individual plays within the whole.
So What Has This Got to Do With Yoga?
Yoga is more than breathing, meditation and exercise. It is a system for creating positive transformation in our own lives, and the lives of those around us. It is a practice of living with respect for all sentient beings, as well as for Mother Earth herself. The first principle of yoga is Ahimsa, non-harming. If we all practiced this principle, in regards to ourselves, our family, our community organisations and our supply chains, we would be transforming the world. There would be far less suffering from stress, fear, depression, loneliness, anxiety and poverty. The increase in these symptoms result directly from the harmful economic systems of colonialism and neoliberalism that we currently live under. Many people are now questioning these systems and creating alternatives.
Work Less – Be More Productive
One way to disrupt the neoliberal/colonial system is to work less. The idea of a four-day week is gaining traction and productivity gurus recognise that taking regular breaks from work allows our mind to stay fresh and innovative rather than exhausted and bored. The busier we are, the more important it is to take these little moments of time out during our day, to rest, to reflect and to reset our nervous systems.
Holistic Yoga on YouTube
Recognising that not everyone has time for a whole yoga class, I’m making a commitment to posting regular short yoga and somatic practices on my YouTube channel. I invite you to take some time out and create your own blissful island of peace and rest, within the sea of commitments to your family, work and household. I’m thinking of those of you who have children off on school holidays, or those of you caring for people who are unwell or frail… Maybe you can do a practice together, to share a moment of calm?
5-Minute Practice to Reduce Anxiety and
How to Set Up for a Yoga Nidra, Relaxation Practice or Sound Bath.
Share the love!!
Please feel free to share the videos with friends and family and post questions or feedback in the comment section underneath the video. As with the Zoom classes, your questions benefit not only you, but help others (including me) to deepen their understanding of how to make these practices accessible and comfortable for everyone. We are all learning together!
With love and good wishes,