There was a pervasive scent of lavender wafting through the room. I realized it was coming from the “eye pillows” we had been given to rest our eyes. There were about ten of us stretched out on our individual mats, but since the room was dimly lit when I entered I could not see anyone’s face. Suddenly there was the gentle “ping” of a tiny bell that signaled we were about to begin our session of “restorative yoga,” a first for me.
I was very excited about participating in this class. I have been overly busy (of my own doing) since my recent recovery (remission) from cancer. Probably like most cancer survivors, I am eager to get on with my life and cram as much enjoyment into it as possible. However…I am still learning my limits. There are days when I just collapse into my new recliner at about 5 or 5:30 pm. and become catatonic for the next hour or so. Only then do I realize how exhausted I am! I haven’t yet learned to pace myself, but I have been learning that I do need to allow myself to rest periodically.
My hope was that I would learn some tricks in this workshop that would help me to relax in ways other than what I am used to. And that did happen. The nearly two hours of the workshop were divided into short sessions of all of us assuming different positions on our mats, cushioned by very comfortable bolsters that we placed in various strategic positions for support. This was not the usual yoga experience. Instead, we were encouraged to relax into the position and hold it for 10 to l5 minutes at a time.
This sounds ideal except for the fact that the real world kept intruding on my bliss. First, the woman next to me kept shifting her position, then breathing heavily when she finally got comfortable. The two instructors kept moving around the room or going up and down the basement stairs causing another distraction. Then just when I thought things had finally settled down, the basement heating unit went on sounding like a jet aircraft had arrived in the room! I concentrated on my breathing and how I had looked forward to this experience, but it wasn’t really working. The final straw was the nearby cellphone (that belonged to my noisy neighbor, I think) that kept pinging throughout the relaxation session. I never entered that deep zone of relaxation I was hoping for.
All was not lost, however. I did get a short foot massage from the reflexologist at the end of the session which made my feet feel wonderful. I have been left with some neuropathy in both feet as a result of chemo, so it was wonderful to know that I still had some sensation left in both feet. In fact, my feet felt wonderful this morning when I got up and started moving around. I’ll have to do more of that.
I don’t think I’ll ever repeat that experience, or at least not in that particular setting. But I did learn a few new tricks I can practice myself at home. And now I need to purchase one of those cushy bolsters for my aching body.
Amazon.com……..here I come!