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| By Wellvyl Media Editorial

I am an avid napper. I am very receptive to listening to my body’s need for rest. In fact, if napping were an Olympic sport, my sleepy self would permanently grace the front of every Wheaties box ad nauseum. I can nap ANYWHERE - on planes, automobiles, in third world train stations, you name it. Within a matter of minutes, my consciousness ascends to the Astral Plane.

In college, I perfected the art of napping in public areas. I caught Zzz’s in a myriad of collegiate locations, from the library to the Student Center, to empty lecture auditoriums, as well as full lecture halls. I didn’t give a rat’s ass who saw me napping in these random places. I suppose I am a little strange that way in my shamelessly slumbering. What holds precedence for me is ensuring my overall ability to think clearly and function to the best of my ADHD ability. How other people judge my wellness idiosyncrasies is their issue.

That being said, I, of course, have no problem falling asleep during the last glorious seven minutes of yoga class spent laying on the mat, known as, “Shavasana”.  The last seven minutes of yoga class is perhaps the reason why sweaty and over-stressed participants bravely rolled out their mat that day. These last seven minutes of class make up for the arduous journey of making it to the studio on time, as well as the going through the flow. For most, these last seven minutes of yoga class are the sweetest moments they will have in their day. A chance to do nothing but lay flat on their backs with their eyes closed, where nothing is demanded of them, where nothing is expected of them. Perhaps it is the safest they have felt all day.

As a yoga teacher, I especially feel a deep responsibility to hold space for Shavasana. When guiding my classes into this passive posture, I say, “...for the pose that we have been preparing for the entire class, the pose that holds the most important for our practice - Shavasana”.  I then witness expressions of gracious relief wash over perspiring faces. It is a palpable energy of absolute gratitude.

Shavasana is both a time and a shape. In Sanskrit, Shavasana can be translated as “corpse pose” or “resting pose”. I use the term “resting pose.” “Corpse pose” doesn’t seem to conjure the most pleasant connotations. Shavasana is the designated time to relax. The practice is not complete unless one surrenders the body to rest, to do nothing, to be in nothing. In the “non-doing”, one is receptive to embodied stillness and thus renewal.

When class ends, students emerge energetically unrecognizable from when they first came in. Baptized by the sacred resting time, I witness a re-energized ease within the perspiring countenances of my students as well as opened, expansive hearts. As they roll up their mats and put away props, I notice a gentle exchange of genuine smiles between students who when they first stepped in the room, avoided all eye contact with every human in the studio. Students offer to put away props for others, hold doors, even speak soft, kind-hearted words to one another. It is a truly beautiful thing to see.

Occasionally after class, students come apologizing to me for falling asleep during Shavasana. I have a particular affinity for these students. I do my best to reassure them that them that there is no need to apologize, that they have done nothing wrong, that it is perfectly ok to nap during Shavasana- it is what their body needs at that time. In my observation, it is a joyous occasion to be honored for it means that the stress-weary student was able to truly let go of their mind’s distractions, to know a place of still silence, to allow themselves to recharge. The nap they are taking is perhaps the most nourishing action they have done in a while.

Receiving apologies such as these is a reminder that we live in a culture that not only does not support or sees the value of naps but regards them as something to be avoided. Inundated with ads for 5 Hour Energy and large cups of coffee, our society tells us that our worth is tied up in our capacity to always be alert, be productive, to be “taking care of business”, or more coarsely put, to “get sh*t done”. To not be in a perpetual state of doing, striving, or working into the late hours of the night is to be slothfully inefficient or unambitious. “Giving in” to the temptation of napping is weakness and exemplifies a flaw in character, of not being able to “handle it”.

However, just as babies cry when they are hungry or need sleep, adult humans are no different. People’s a-hole factor rises exponentially when they are deprived of these two basic needs. The a-hole club already has plenty of members, it does not need anymore. In our first world society, food is affordable and readily accessible, quelling the “hangry” monster that lives in all of us. Yet our need for recharging rest is disregarded, the angry elephant is still in the room, smashing at the walls out of frustration.  As I build rapport with students, some reveal to me that after Shavasana that it is almost impossible for them to be unkind. That is the alchemy of rest. Naps clearly have the transformative potency to cultivate gentleness, more patience in our interactions, mitigating a reactionary short fuse.  

Contrary to what most naysayers might think, napping is NOT a waste of time, an escape, or a sign of laziness. Like going to the gym, eating healthfully, or socializing with a supportive community, taking the time to nourish your wellbeing is not a frivolous expenditure. To nap involves actively listening to your body and adhering to its need to rest and recharge. What I believe borders on insanity is intently disregarding the need to nap. I feel it is parallel to ignoring your need to eat or to hydrate. The body knows what it needs to successfully thrive, it is only a matter of listening to it. In the act of napping, you give compassion to your entire wellbeing. Being compassionate to our own selves spills over to offering kindness to others. It is a natural energetic consequence.

By choosing to rest, I am making the effort not only to  ensure my physical health and restore my mental clarity so that I may function better, but so that that the ugly, mean, impatient part of me stays at bay, so I do not make anyone else’s day unpleasant due to my irritability. Post-nap, I notice that I tip a little extra at the coffee shop or I hold the door longer for others. I believe that if we make the effort to manage our energy with attention to rest, acting like an a-hole would not be the default behavior. Make the world a less abrasive place, give yourself a nap, and reemerge as a kinder soul.    

#namaste #sayhello #immadlight #kindnessisgangsta

by @blondestormtrooper