Friday, December 4, 2009

Susi's Newsletter

I just received Susi Hately Aldous' newsletter. She was talking about doing less, instead of more; of relaxing into a pose instead of pushing into a pose; of letting go of the "no pain, no gain" attitude. I can't agree more. When it comes to Restorative and Yin you cannot push yourself to relax more. There is no competition to see who can be the most relaxed. There is just you, your breath, and your body, settling in and softening.

Here's Susi's rules:
1. Relax into your movement. If you think about relaxing as a segue to movement, you will automatically "let go." As you continue to move with relaxation, your strength will improve. Remember, tight muscles are weak muscles, so as tight muscles relax, they will become stronger.

2. Breathe easily. Notice if there is any tension when you use breathing techniques like Ujjayi. If there is tension, back off in order to find the ease. Remember, you want to use your breath to breathe, not to stabilize.

3. If you feel strain or ache, ease out to a position of strain-free or ache-free. Feel for the emerging non-pain sensations.  (If you have pain or strain constantly through your day, then be sure that your pain symptoms don't increase with your practice).

4. Don't believe that your "bad back" or "bad knee" will be "bad" forever. I have seen so many people increase their range of motion, strength, and stability while at the same time reduce or eliminate their aches, strains, or pain.

5. Remember, relaxing is not doing nothing.  As Indira Gandhi said, "You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose". It may be helpful to consider relaxation in movement as relaxed resilience. This will help you cultivate greater strength.

6. Instead of saying to yourself, "Ooooh, a little further," say, "Relax just a little more."

Thanks for the great tips Susi. Aren't these lovely rules to live by? Relax and settle in.