Sometimes I think there’s a fine line between lying around (feeling sorry for yourself) and restorative yoga. But here are the differences:
- Intention – The idea behind restorative yoga is to restore your energy. Thus, it’s intentional. Lying around can occur just because you’re too wiped out to get up. And for me, I have the definite intention to practice every day.
- Attention – If you’re lying down feeling bad, you just lie down and try to snuggle into the most comfy position. If you’re practicing restorative yoga, you are paying careful attention to breathing, to the position of your arms and legs,
- Focus – I guess this is similar to attention. I may lie down on the sofa and pick up a book, or if I’m feeling particularly bad, turn on the TV. For me, this is impossible while doing restorative yoga. Boy, my teachers have me so well trained! I always start by looking within, even if it’s only a moment with eyes closed and hands in prayer position, and end the same way.
A member of my extended family has a long history of illness. She is in pain a great deal of the time. Sometimes she just spends all day lying in the recliner with a blanket pulled up over her, listening to the news on TV. As a result, her body is in even worse shape. I think she lies there stewing and worrying about what’s wrong with her. The ambient bad news adds to her anxiety. I and many other people have tried gently over the years to suggest ways of moving around, yoga, or just getting up and walking. The effort is often too great. I think she could benefit greatly from restorative yoga, but it’s just not going to be part of her life. Her example is a huge life lesson for me, and one part of that is “Take care of yourself. Lying around won’t make you well.”
Oh, I’m so self-righteous! But I am glad I have the wherewithal to do what I’m doing.