The Pleasure of Rest- Part 1
In my experience as a Freediving Instructor, motivating students to explore their potential is not the hard part, nor is teaching the science of training and rest. Transmitting the pleasure of rest so that people enjoy it enough to benefit from it is the real challenge.
I used to feel frustrated with eager Master Students who rejected their rest days. Arriving content in the morning of a rest day, they quickly escalated into boredom, impatience and agitation. By the afternoon they were usually training again to reset their mood and mind, only later to discover that there’s no longevity in a training program without rest.
I realized that it wasn’t enough just to talk about the importance of rest, I had to facilitate a restful experience so that they could taste the pleasure of presence that emerges from that quiet, centered space.
I took it to the laboratory of my own life and it was humbling to see how addicted I was to stimulation; the coffees, emails, online classes, you-tube channels, the endless lists, the workouts…I was filling in the gaps because staying busy felt easier than being mindful but I was missing out on the succulent moments of stillness, all the in-betweens that ah-ha’s are born from.
So I began to experiment with effortlessly restorative practices and what once scared me with empty threats of boredom revealed a source of infinite pleasure and inspiration. Engaging with rest is playful and rejuvenating. It’s a space for integration, musings and free flowing creativity. This is where healing happens.
In the past, when I couldn’t exercise due to being sick, injured or during long-haul travel, I was irritable and really distracted. These days I savour rest as a safe space to soften and to integrate all the new findings from a week of training, studying and teaching.
Here are two super simple practices for you to try. The more you allow yourself moments of pause, the easier it will be to enjoy a whole day of rest, recover efficiently and be present to new experiences and people you love. Give these a go and be sure to let me know in the comments sections below, how it feels to rest back into your Self!
The Pleasure of Rest:
Practice # 1
What you need: A journal, pen and 10 minutes of “You-Time”.
Get comfortable, read the questions, close your eyes and sit with them and then write continuously for 10 minutes.
When do you feel most at rest?
What does it feel like in your body when you are at rest?
In what ways do you resist rest?
What can you do to clear some more space for rest?
Practice # 2
Watching in Wonder
What you need: A place to sit or lie down outdoors.
Find somewhere to sit or lie down outside where you are comfortable and undisturbed. Close your eyes for two minutes, breathe, relax, be still. Open your eyes and follow what they are drawn to. Watch the way the leaf dances on the end of the branch or the trail of ants, focused and marching. Watch the way colors layer over one another, splashing onto the canvas of life. Look out at your surroundings in wonder and notice all the beautiful details that are so easy to glance over.
In your Journal: Notice how you feel. Reflect and express.
I know that rest days can feel scary, especially when there is so much to do. You can reassure yourself that a rest day is like the aquifer to your spring of creativity, energy and passion for life. And to be totally honest with you, this is a take away from my current practice of savouring the moment and sinking in to rest. But here I am, mid way through my Sunday Funday and I am content, care-free and my body says thank you.
Stay tuned for more ways to participate in rest. I’ve got a whole heap of goodness coming your way.