It has been awhile since I have worked up the motivation to get back into yoga. While yoga has always been the best workout for me, mentally and physically, I tend to drift away from it every now and then. So, to catapult me back into the yogi swing of things I signed up for Yoga Vibe's Ayurvedic Relaxation Yoga Workshop.
To give you a brief context, Ayurveda is an Indian holistic system of heath dating back 5000 years. It is founded on the idea that the mind, body and soul exist as single entity. According to Ayurvedic philosophy, everything in the universe is made up of five basic elements: space/ether, air, fire, water, and earth. Each of us have varying proportions of these five elements, unique to our own being. This distinct pattern of energy is called dosha. When our dosha is in harmony, we are healthy, our minds are clear and focused, and we are happy. We become unbalanced by poor diet, physical and emotional trauma, and toxins from the environment. Ayurveda aims to find the root of this imbalance through herbs, detoxification techniques, diet change, and massage.
This workshop incorporated Ayurvedic massage techniques, candlelight, and live music (there was even a harmonium!) with relaxation yoga poses. We began the class with thirty minutes of deep stretching and spent the remaining hour and a half holding a handful of poses for five to ten minutes each. Between gentle rose mists, chanting, and a brief massage by Carrie, the teacher, I felt incredibly calm and centered.
As with all yoga classes, I found it incredibly difficult to shut my mind off and just meditate on my breath. While I am typically distracted by my physical experience (think shaking thighs while holding Warrior), I could not quiet my thoughts as I lay blissfully in Child's Pose. The narrative went something like this, "It's so dark in here. My face is laying on my mat. When did I last wash this mat? That feels gross. Maybe I should rest my chin on the mat instead. My butt is in the air. The candle flickered. What if I stood up and danced? I can make my eyes go in a circle when they are closed."
If you have the opportunity to take a workshop, I highly recommend it. Despite my inner chatter, I found the environment nourishing and eye opening in a new way. Mainly, I know need to get back to my weekly practice to settle down a bit!