Restorative Silence

There is something powerful in hearing nothing


The first time I took a yoga class was really early in the morning. I remember dragging myself to the little room in the gym and going through all of these movement. Then, at the end, I remember Savasana, or corpse pose, feeling like all the stress I had accumulated was drained out of my body. In that moment, I felt so relieved. I felt like I had slept for hours instead of the minutes of calmness. Silence, it appears, could restore my equilibrium. That was weird to me because I have always been afraid of silence. I tend to fill up spaces with sounds. I even talk out loud to myself if I feel like a space is too silent.

In the past  few week though I have been craving silence. It started with my morning walk to the train station. I tend to leave my house early in the still morning to walk to train station. At that time, there are not a lot of cars or people moving around. It is usually really quiet. I normally would have my earphones on and listen to music really loud. Recently though I have been walking in silence. At first, it was because I felt like I needed that time to think about how I wanted my day to go. To visual the many steps and goals for the day.

This meditative walk turned into taking the train to work without playing music. The train has a rhythm of its own I have discovered. It is the way the train rolls on the rail and takes the curves in the way. It is in the beep on public announcement system. It is the voice of the conductor announcing the upcoming stations. It is all just one sound outside my head. Soon, without music, that rhythm disappears and becomes silence. I find myself getting lost in my own thoughts instead of the beats pumping into my head. On my day off, I usually spend a considerable amount of time in the kitchen playing music. In the past weeks, I have spent time in the kitchen, without music, just listening to the wind and the city moving about me.

Being in silence has had a centering effect on me. I feel like I am calmer because of it. I am not so hyped up. The one big thing it has done is allow me be able to hear better. I used to listen to my music so loud. A few days ago, I put my earphones on and I had to reduce the music to really low because I was not used to anything that loud. My phone calls have also gotten better because I am calm and able to hear better.

I am starting to think of this silent period as a sort of Savasana. I am after all the person who has always enjoyed Savasana, the last silent moment of yoga practice. There is something powerful about the restorative calm of hearing nothing and being turned inward.

*If you feel like you could use some calm, try practicing Savasana. The Yoga journal has a whole article on getting into Savasana  and its benefits here.

I’m Strong. I’m Beautiful.

Yoga on rocks
I’m beautiful. I ‘m strong.

And halfway through the challenge, she decided that it was the best time to learn the half-moon. The half-moon is a standing split almost. It requires balancing on one leg and one hand while the other limbs hover in the air. It requires a lot of integrity and focus. It requires self-awareness. It requires confidence. In that moment, when I kept falling out of my posture, I was not sure I had what it took to maintain a half-moon for a full breathe. So I paused the video and went into the child pose.

The child pose has always been one of my favorite poses in yoga. It brings me back to earth. I have started using the child pose a place of meditation when I feel lost during my practice. When I feel like I can’t, I tell myself I can. I am beautiful. I am strong. I can do this. I chant this continuously for what seems like hours within a minute. Sometimes, I feel myself crying. I will myself not to give up on my dreams, not to give-up on my body, not to give up on my soul. In that moment while I go through this self affirmation, I rediscover my commitment to life, to living.

As I write this, I am half-way through a 30 day challenge that I am doing with a yogi callled Adriene on Youtube. (If you are interested in learning about her, click here). One of the things that Adriene says that connects with me is that showing up is often the hardest part of any practice. This has been so true for me in the past 15 days. I have been busy with work and life but I am constantly creating space because it is something I believe in. I believe that is important to create space for myself and meditate through movement. It is one of the reasons why I explore various options for exercising.

Self-affirmation is something that I use in my daily practice. It is what fuels my runs. It is what fuels me when I am lifting. It is what compels me to make the right choices. After going through my chant today half-way through the practice with Adriene, I was able to move and breathe into the half-moon pose. It was not easy but I connected back with my body and I was able to achieve the shapes. It is the victories in moments like this that make me realize that I can. I should. I will…keep chasing impossible.