A Little Rest

I fell asleep in yoga class today.

Final savasana, hot room, rain pattering ever so gently outside.

It had been kind of a tough class, one of those days where I was acutely aware of tension in the upper traps and some lower back stiffness, and working through and releasing shortened muscles was a challenge. I only slept for five or ten minutes at the end of class, just long enough to find that the room had emptied and the music had stopped. Just a couple minutes of me and the rain. Yet, waking up from that very short catnap, everything felt softer, the possibility of releasing tension more within reach. Breathing felt easier. Sleep, even in tiny, unexpected doses, is amazing.

I thought of a client who recently asked me why she felt so tired after a massage.

“You’re probably just tired,” I said (I am the queen of complex analysis). Because, as far as I know, there actually are no magic inner workings of massage that leave you fatigued. And my yoga class, while challenging, was not exhausting. Sometimes, taking an hour or so to focus on the body tells you a little more about how it’s feeling. It’s as simple as that.

Sometimes these slivers of insight are wonderful: noticing that you can breathe a little deeper after massage frees intercostal muscles, or discovering through new relief that pain can actually go away. Sometimes the realization is kind of mundane: that you could really use a nap. What’s great about massage (or yoga in a heated room where you know there’s no rush to leave) is the opportunity to soften even into something as tedious as tiredness, to enter that state that floats between sleep and waking, or even to fall fully into dreamtime. There can be comfort even in the tiredness that emerges during bodywork — less fatigued-from-working-a-very-long-day, more lazy-stretching-on-a-Sunday-morning, soft-as-a-kitten, a chance to wake up all over again and step out into the day anew.

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