Well, it was bound to happen I guess. After six months of living on the road, jumping from Summer to Winter to somewhere in between, I eventually gave myself a cold. Generally speaking, if I have a little cold I will still practice, it can help clear congestion and give me a bit of energy, but this was no such cold. This particular cold had me breathing heavy and coughing constantly and feeling achy and sore every time I moved. If these past months of travel and practice have taught me anything, they have taught me that practice can take many forms and none of it is ‘cheating’ as long as it has a strong intention behind it. Unable to practice any physical poses without feeling pain I set myself up with some pillows and just sat and practiced my Ujjayi breath. My teacher in LA always said the breath was the ‘main event’ and when I let the poses go and simply experienced the breath I could understand exactly what she meant. Just by building the heat of my breath I could feel my muscles begin to relax a bit and the congestion in my chest begin to ease. I am not going to lie- I missed the movement and flow of the physical postures but I knew that if I gave it a few days of rest I could get back to that. I took Savasana propped up on some pillow since laying flat just made me cough and after practice I felt much better.
Sometimes changing the form of practice for illness, injury or other reasons that our physical bodies need a break can be just as important as rolling the mat out everyday and moving through our poses. There are days the body needs rest and if you push through it is not getting what it needs. It is interesting to watch the patterns of the mind on these days. My mind tends to alternate between ‘this was the right thing to do’ and ‘stop being lazy, just get up and practice,’ as I wait patiently though, by the end of my sit or my rest in a restorative pose I can feel my body saying ‘thank you’ and my mind beginning to settle down and I know that I have done the right thing for my practice for the day.