To have a third, I believe I’d have to get a little drunk first. The poking and prodding sensitive areas of your feet, and the undoing of hard earned calluses that have protected your feet, does not feel nice to me. The image, or even the sound of the word “cuticle” makes me cringe. You get the idea. Yet, I am an anomaly. People do seem to love pedicures. Pedicures have a reputation of making people feel clean, restored, pampered, and beautiful. They—I hate to admit it—might make the world a better place…
Restorative yoga has a similar reputation. Students lay on the floor with a fortress of straps, bolsters, blocks, sand bags, and blankets. They smile softly as the teacher instructs and assists them into making various collapsible beds. Their bodies melt onto these structures with ease as the heart gently opens. It is pretty beautiful.
Then there’s that other person who just can’t get comfortable. That’s me! I feel like robot taken out of its regular packaging and laid out in a stiff, messy heap on the floor. “Wow, this thing doesn’t work like I thought it would…does it need different batteries?” I “hear” the teacher “think” this, but it’s really just my own thinking and judgements. I have been called “stiff as a board” by some restorative teachers and asked if “that’s how far it goes?” One teacher was surprised by my occasional back issues, asking “Yoga didn’t fix that up?” No, yoga didn’t fix my body. Sorry about that.
In everyday life, I have a thick skin. I can joke around, and take blunt words with confidence and good humor. In yoga class? I am a little more raw! Aren’t we all to some degree? It honestly hurts my feelings every time I’m singled out for being tight. Those teachers are not mean or uncaring—it’s just that my packaging says STRETCH ARMSTONG YOGA TEACHER and what came out wasn’t bendy or soft. They are not sure why I can’t do what others can with just a little breathing and relaxation. Other times, the teacher is kind or oblivious and I’m the only one doing the judging.
I’ve only been to a handful of restorative classes. The heart openers are easy, but all the poses involving hamstrings are borderline painful. Every time, I’ve felt very depressed, on the edge of tears by the time I leave. Needless to say, I was annoyed that I had to take another Gentle/ Restorative class as part of my 300 hour training.
Today, I’m happy to say that Alexis Donahue’s G/R class at The Light Within was wonderful. It was actually relaxing. We actually moved first and did some gentle yoga. That made all the difference, because I enjoy gentle yoga.
I recently ended my love affair with high powered vinyasa and awkward embrace with restorative for something in the middle. With gentle yoga, it is the perfect balance of breath, movement, and stillness. This made me comfortable, warmer, safe, and stimulated through the first part of class. Then, when we got to the longer holds (the true Restorative/ Yin form), I was more open—mentally, emotionally, physically—to it. For once, I was the one with a soft smile in supported bridge. My hips did not cramp in modified shoulder stand. My mind did not wander down a deep dank hall of depressive thought. Alexis reminded us to stay with the breath and do what we needed to be comfortable. She didn’t make me feel stiff or odd. She gave us options and our own space to choose our props/adjustments. I thought WOW, THIS is what it feels like to let go…
And I did, so much that I cannot tell you much in detail about the physical class. I just know that I felt good at the end…pampered, clean, restored, even beautiful. The box was open, labels peeled off.
Would I take G/R at TLW again? Yes, please.
Will I get another pedicure? Uh, one change at a time…