Storing yoga props in my home for Judith's course. Students came from as far as South Africa, Japan, Ireland for the training schlep 

Verb
Haul or carry (something heavy or awkward).

Noun
A tedious or difficult journey.

This summer I am spending some good chunks of time with Judith Lasater. Ahhhh. My whole body sighs just writing that.
A yoga teacher since 1971, (the year that I was born!), Judith is the guru of restorative yoga, the premier proponent of rest, the expert on slowing down. Studying with Judith means schlepping a wheelbarrow-full of props to class every day. It’s cumbersome. And right now as I seek the next place to host my course Falling in Love I am in touch with the logistics of providing and storing restorative yoga props for a six week course. That, my friends, is the less than glamorous behind-the-scenes schlep required to create support and therefore relaxation.

Pourquoi? Why bother? Why have I fallen in love with a healing modality that is so heavy and bulky? I asked myself. These are the four answers I got.

First–Support is rare! Something that Judith talks about is that we seldom get to let go into an experience of true support. Even when we sleep we are working out the emotional and physical tension of the day. But when we support the body, an innate healing flows freely. The outcome is tangible: a deep sigh occurs. You feel on a visceral level when someone has got your back. In Hakomi we talk about the missing experience. When you’re finally given something that you’ve craved (and lacked possibly forever) you get fed and nourished on multiple levels. I love this– I see it in my students and clients. It takes the form of a subtle smile that radiates from deep inside. It takes the form of a sigh of relief from dropping layers and layers of obligation, pretense, pressure.

I lived in Italy for five years and sometimes an Italian expression captures the essence ideally. I present you: ci mancava & ci voleva. “That’s what was missing,” “That’s what was desired.”

That thing.
Ah, the delight of getting that exact thing.

Second: It’s in the details. And truthfully, sometimes details require lots of tools.
In restorative yoga we pay attention to subtle cues and position the props just right. Sometimes a small adjustment in position takes the experience from blissful ease to true nirvana.

Third: I gather props as a metaphor and a practice.
Intentionally gathering props plus carving out time and space creates a container for the body’s own healing response. “If you build it they will come.” If you create space intentionally then something else will take over. Isn’t that always the case with intention? Energy follows intention, is what they say. I’d say so.

This is one tangible practice that I can see because the props take up so much space. My workshops offer the ritual of repetition with the intention of supporting a home practice. In a group you get to experience the mutuality of a supportive community. You also get the momentum and entrainment effect of a group relaxing together. So valuable!

Lastly: Creating support in our lives takes consciousness and effort and it’s worth it!
If I want to be surrounded by healthy friendships I must consciously choose to deepen connections with people that uplift me. If I want to feel healthy I must make the effort to cook foods that support my wellbeing. If I want partnership that is based on good communication I will work to develop tools with my love that contribute to a strong foundation. None of this comes for free. It comes with deliberate effort.

Our culture lulls us into trances left and right. We get seduced away from the body and its cues. “Why do I reach for my vices?” my clients ask. “Why do I check out?” Because instant gratification is easy, because you’re human. It’s not our habit to breathe, come back to the body and make the most self-loving choice. That, sweet friend, takes practice.

Sometimes you need support to build support. I’m here to hold your hand as you build pillars of support in your life. Believe me, your whole body with sigh with relief to be supported.

*photo of yoga props stored in my home for Judith’s course. Students came from as far as South Africa, Japan, Ireland for the training

 

Post script~ Judith sent me this response:

Dear Pamela:

This brought tears to my eyes.

I really like your writing, for sure, but I was so touched by how deeply you get my work.

Reading this gave me empathy; I felt seen and heard.

I am honored that you teach what I have taught you, and delighted that you do so in
in your own inimitable way.

We are all blessed by your life.

Love,
Judith