We sometimes get so caught up with our practice, that rest day sometimes sounds as punishment. Why on earth should we stop practicing for one day? Can we not practice, maybe slower, on Saturday too? Well, apparently even God took a day off!
Being a very Vata, fast-paced person, I very often run out of my energies without even realizing it. I get into something, I become very passionate and extreme about it, and go to the very last of my ounces of energy… as a result, I get injured, I run out of breath, I become very nervous or too tired. That’s why, especially for personalities like mine, rest and moon days are a must.
With age, I’ve learnt to trust this very simple rule even more. Yoga is 24 hours, 7 days a week, but we should not mistake Yoga with just Asana. Practicing the other limbs is even more difficult and rest days are a good way to tap into the deepest meanings of this wonderful philosophy. There are so many practices we can take on during rest day! One of this is the well known oil bath, which I find necessary after so many years of practice. Here is a link to understand how this can be done. When I started practicing oil baths I thought it was only a myth, but after a few weeks its benefits are unmistakable. Another good idea for your spare time, is to prepare golden milk, a wonderful turmeric recipe that brings relief to joints and muscles, perfect for the first, cold days of the winter season.
My favourite yogic practice during rest days, however, is reading yoga books. Whether that be the Yoga Sutra or a modern yoga and anatomy book (check out David Keil’s one!), there is so much to learn. And of course meditation or simply connecting (if possible, in person! Ditch the internet for a few hours!) with friends and relatives is a wonderful way to honor rest days.
Rest and Moon days also are, in my opinion, a good way to connect with the natural cycles of our body. Practicing has made me closer to the natural rhythms of life (and that’s why I love going to my home in Tuscany as much as I can). I feel that day after day, the rules of modern economy are failing to provide happiness to human beings. Despite all we do, we belong to Nature, and this is one of the biggest changes Yoga threw me into – for almost all my life, I thought of myself as a city girl! Well, no longer the case. I now love being surrounded by Nature, walking by the sea, feeling one with the environment.
Don’t forget to rest. Whether it is Saturday, as in the Ashtanga Yoga tradition, or any other day of the week, take a day off even from the thing you love the most – Yoga. Practice detachment and sink into yourself, exploring all Yoga limbs… except Asana, just for today!
Enjoy your rest day. Namaste.