3 Keys To The Lost Art of Rest

The other night I was in a hot yoga class. When I say hot, I’m talking tropical rainforest hot.

People were mat to mat. I was dripping sweat before I even started to move.

It was so hot, that when the person behind me took a deep breath, the breeze on my shoulder actually felt refreshing. Eww. I know. But ‘dems the breaks of hot yoga.

Anyway, about mid way through the class I couldn’t even.

Yes, that was a complete sentence.

I couldn’t do even another down dog or plank to save my life. It was so hot. And I was so tired. I was cooked.

So I moved myself into child’s pose in order to rest while the teacher instructed the class through a challenging plank series.

But when I got to child pose, my mind did not want to rest. It said, “Come on, Erin. Just try one more plank.” “Just try one more warrior.”

So essentially I was in child’s pose, but I wasn’t REALLY in child’s pose.

Because my mind was trying to convince me I should be somewhere else.

And so I wasn’t really getting the benefit of the rest, or the benefit of anything else for that matter.

So I played a little game. I pretended that the teacher was actually telling everyone to take a nice big juicy rest.

Of course she was not saying that. At all. But I imagined it.

And then I moved back into child pose where that simple instruction of being told I was SUPPOSED to rest, allowed me actually rest.

And be fully in child’s pose.

My mind relaxed. So did my body. And I started to cool off.

Now, you should know that the story does not end with me feeling fully rested, jumping back into class and finishing strong with a headstand.

Nope. I basically moved from child’s pose to Shavasana, lying on my back, taking a rest the whole second half of class.

But here IS what happened.

I left myself alone.

I stopped telling myself I should be somewhere other than where I was.

And as a result, while I didn’t finish strong or do half of what was intended to be done, I felt satisfied.

I fully lived in my body. Wholeheartedly.

And because of that, I walked out of that hotbox feeling at peace and at ease.

And my friend, isn’t that the whole point of yoga?

And well, life?

This is the lost art of rest.

You too have permission to leave yourself alone.

You have permission to bow out and rest in child’s pose.

You have permission to stop whatever it is you are doing, even when you had every intention of plowing ahead.

But whatever you do, fully do it. Inhabit it.

Be the soul of wherever you are.  Make it yours.

All yours.

Leave yourself alone.

You’re good.

As always, I invite you to share your thoughts on this. Are you ever in one place but think you should be somewhere else? Do you struggle with giving yourself permission to be wherever you are, even if you don’t think it is where you are supposed to be? And gosh, how do you feel about hot yoga?:)

Look forward to hearing your thoughts!


P.S. Have you checked out my video of the month? It has movements and mantras you can do from where you are reading this right now. You can watch it over here.

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48 Responses to 3 Keys To The Lost Art of Rest

  1. Irene says:

    I completely agree with what you did in that class, Erin.
    You were kind to yourself – it always feels good when you are.
    I tried hot yoga but it did not agree with my pelvic floor so I just switched to Hatha and it feels divine.
    Best wishes, Irene

    • Erin says:

      Thanks Irene. Yes, it’s most certainly not for everyone. I do find the heat is wonderful for my low back. So glad that you have found Hatha:)Perfection! xo

  2. Faby says:

    This is so true, every time I say I’m going to sleep a bit more to relax or just stay in bed a little longer my head is running around on how and when I have to do my chores and pay bills. Is mentally exhausting. I need to start learning how to just let go and relax. Thank u, this has made me think how many times I really don’t relax and have my mind on overdrive. New things to learn for this coming year, thank u!

  3. Kim says:

    Erin, you do have this uncanny ability to jump in our heads. I had a baby via c-sec I week ago today, released from the hospital 4 days ago. My mind is constantly somewhere else, the projects that can and need to be done. I told my mom I’d give myself one week of healing before jumping into project one. While I’ve been true to my body with the break I haven’t been in my mind. Time to tell my whole self it’s ok to rest and soak up my new baby. Thank you.

    • Erin says:

      Kim- Congratulations on your new baby! I can’t think of a bigger life event that deserves tons of rest and downtime then having a baby. And a c-section, none the less. My sister in law also had a c-section about two weeks ago. One thing I can say, is that my little nephew is so sweet and tiny that it is so clear this phase will go by so quickly. Soak up all that deliciousness. It goes by in a flash. Take your time. I give you full permission to rest. 😉 Big, big love to you and your family. xo

  4. KM says:

    Erin, this post hit me in the solar plexus, took my breath away, made me cry, even. Your approach to health, fitness, self-appreciation continues to move me and make me wonder why I have missed the present for so long and still find it so hard to be in it fully.

    Thanks for your inspirations as I figure it out.

    Much gratitude for your guidance.

    • Erin says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Sending you big big present moment hugs. Appreciate you coming along for the journey:) xo

  5. Hadley says:

    That was beautiful, Erin. Thank you

  6. Margaret says:

    Thanks, we all need reminders once and awhile.
    Yes, breathe, feel, and be grateful.

  7. Cathy says:

    Erin, I love this. I too am learning how powerful doing nothing is. We always try to power through and push ourselves and sometimes we just need to stop, take a break and let ourselves be 🙂

    • Erin says:

      Yes, a break is so important. We have learned all these tools to be MORE productive, maybe it is time to learn some tools to be unproductive. 🙂

  8. Amanda says:

    How did you know I needed to hear this today? I was suffering from a severe migraine (the one that comes with all the embarrassment of vomiting down your dress in your work parking lot while you’re on the way to the doctor to be treated… No one else? Just me? OK.) and tried to go back to workout last night and felt a pop in my head. My friend, boss and overall mentor stopped me immediately and sent me home… To which I started to cry, because my mind said that I hadn’t finished my workout yet! I needed to read this today! Thanks!

    • Erin says:

      I am so sorry to hear about your migraine. My goodness, I can only imagine the inner conflict of feeling like you need to power through and yet can not, in anyway. Well, the good news is that messages come in all forms and your boss gave you right when you needed to hear it. And you followed. So good on you. Feel better, Amanda! xo

  9. Sarah says:

    I have given myself permission to do this in the past. But I find I feel guilt about it the rest of the day. Guilt is the worst emotion. Have never tried hot yoga, but am getting into Pilates and I love it!

  10. Anne says:

    WOW! Thank you!!!

  11. Christina says:

    Erin, thank you for the post. I have lived most of my life this way and am still trying not to feel guilty for when I just want to do something for me. Your post is so relevant for me right at this moment, again thank you. But I’m slowly learning and hopefully I will be able to do this without the guilt.

    As for hot yoga, I can’t do it. As I’ve gotten older my body does not take the heat very well so I switched to Kundalini yoga and love it. Have a wonderful day! 🙂

  12. Janice says:

    Thank you for these words today! I have had a lot on my plate and on my mind and I have not even considered giving myself permission to rest. When I listen to a meditation I can relax when I hear someone else tell me to but I really need to listen to myself!
    Sometimes our thoughts aren’t telling us what our body and soul need.
    Have a great morning!

  13. Joyce says:

    This was perfect for today .. As I struggle with myself in other things I can apply what this too. I wish it was just calming my mind in Yoga… By accepting where I am TODAY I can let my mind rest. Thank you.

  14. Antonia says:

    Love this. Thank you!

  15. Anna says:

    Such powerful words. I have punished myself for years. Do one more plank, don’t eat that muffin, do more study, sleep less etc. Inside you feel like you need to let go or you will literally kill yourself but unless someone else tells you that it is OK to rest you just can’t stop punishing yourself. Problem is everyone always wants more out of you and the only way to stop and let go is if you allow yourself to do it but that’s the tricky bit.

  16. Mary says:

    Yes! This. Right now. Coming to realize I can’t, or won’t just let myself BE in this present state of wait. And patience. part of me wants to be wherever next is, instead of here now. Ugh! So I walk. A lot. looking for the right music, mantra to center me here now. Instead of wherever I think I should be. Free-falling isn’t so bad if I can relax & just breathe.

  17. Kim says:

    Thank you for your post.

    “Today, I will be on my side.” ❤️

  18. Sarah Taylor says:

    Erin, you are a breath of fresh air ? I recently went to a yoga class to unwind and relax yet once I got in there all I could do was think and judge myself and my body and all I was doing was being in my head. It was nothing short of relaxing…I would feel a pain or my head would pound a little and I would go right to that feeling, I had to stop myself and remind myself to just let go and listen to the teacher and my breath…it’s not easy in life to remember to do this. I left my full time job 2 months ago to pursue my dreams and instead of diving head first I feel I have somehow lost myself, I’m always in my head now. Thinking, judging, wishing for more….I needed to hear this today, I truly hope I can let myself go and find inner peace so I can get to that happy place and sleep again ? you inspire me, for everything you are and all that you stand for ✨ thank you ?

  19. Mary says:

    Thank you Erin for who you are and what you do. Wonderfulness.
    I have had a similar experience this week. As a very long time nurse (over 40 years) I try to improve everything and want to help everybody. And change the system. And right what’s wrong. Yaddayadda. I am now seeing that all of this is not my job and just being present may be the best thing I can do. Thank you and heart snippets to you.

  20. CS says:

    Erin – once again you hit it out of the ball park! Thank you for saying it so beautifully. It’s such a shame that we need to give ourselves permission to do something that should come naturally. Today I focus on listening to my inner self.

  21. donna says:

    I loved this message. It came at the right time. I’m very stressed with so many things I’m trying to get done. I feel guilty when I’m tired and just need to rest. Thanks for this email.

  22. Tracy Hennessy says:

    thank you. I often need to be reminded to “leave myself alone”. Today I will give myself a break thanks to you.

  23. Heather says:

    Erin, this is such an important message! Thank you for your loving style of sharing 🙂 Why is it that resting is so hard to accept? I have been implementing a resting practice for the past several months and it is creating more space for productivity, creativity, and fun. Such a great reinforcement to read about this in your blog too.

  24. Niki says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is so perfect to hear and at just the right time 🙂
    I needed a reminder.
    Be well.
    Niki Alexander

  25. Dee says:

    Erin. That one sentence resonated so much with me. I never leave myself alone. I’m going to take the good from this. I’m sure we all have our personal struggles – but this one just “got me”. Thank you for sharing. It’s like you were living in my head !

  26. Victoria says:

    In the midst of a HUGE life changing project that I keep referring to as my Pacific Coast Trail.
    I gave myself a night off because my body demanded it. But now realizing after this list why it didn’t seem restful.
    I didn’t let myself off the hook. Mentally I was beating myself up for taking the rest. This is a major discovery for me. Thank you.

  27. Ariana says:

    Seems like this post resonated with a lot of people. Myself included.. As a mom and entrepreneur and wife and etc.. I often feel I am stealing time and “should” be someone or with someone else. I am creating a life that I am present in whatever I am doing. And where I should be is where I am and it can be hard. 2 years ago I was pregnant with my second child and also trying to grow my business. I was always frustrated and tired. I chose to step and way from my business as that was causing me stress and just grow the baby inside me and be a mom to my older daughter. I felt guilty at first and then I just eased into it. It was to just be a mom and be pregnanct. Sometimes I was bored but I had a big job and then she was born and enjoyed being her mom. Then after a year I was ready to be an entrepreneur again. I am very happy now. Practing Harmony everyday. Thanks and I am scared or hot yoga. Lol

  28. Aleesha says:

    Thank you for this! I just started my work day (I live in New Zealand) and it was just what I needed to read. I often feel bad for taking a rest as “I have things I need to do”. You know that never ending list in your head. I love the tool you used as well and will give it a go. THANK YOU

  29. virginia says:

    Erin, thank you!
    This exact thing happened to me at a hot yoga class! I felt so crazy getting in child’s pose but there was nothing more I could do. I totally talked shit to myself for the first few minutes but it felt so good to release and let go. There was nothing more to do. It taught me a lot about honoring where I was and not judging myself.
    Thanks again!

  30. Cath says:

    So well said Erin. We’ve had a challenging last month, nothing major but small issues popping up with two very sick small children, myself being injured and just generally feeling overwhelmed. I’ve spent most of the past month wishing I could be doing this or that, waiting for the moment when I’ll be able to get back on track. Instead of being exactly where I need to be, here. I’ve been resisting and looking forward to when things change that I’ve never fully allowed myself to just be… And I definitely have not left myself alone. Thank you for these insightful words, I just need to leave myself alone be kind and relax into life as it is today. Thanks Erin x

  31. Lily says:

    I needed to hear this. Thank you. In yoga I feel like I have to be better than everyone else in the class or at least on par and perfect with the poses because I don’t want to be seen as that fat girl who can’t hack it in yoga. The days I can’t get into a certain pose I get so frustrated with my body instead of just letting it be what it is. I am afraid to try hot yoga because I sweat so much as it is I worry that I wouldn’t make it through half of a class.

  32. Laurie says:

    Hey there Erin,

    Awesome post and insight. It’s fabulous that you are learning this now! I got this during my breastfeeding years…just put your feet up, breathe and Be!

    Thanks for the reminder!

  33. diana says:

    Love this. I am trying to do this more at the moment and it’s so liberating. But it’s tough, having to remind yourself all the time that you can and should look after yourself and give yourself the same care that you give others.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  34. Oh, wow, I can COMPLETELY understand this.

    I was in my first temescal/sweat lodge yesterday here in Peru. I have a huge fear of being in hot, dark, and confined spaces. But I felt the called to do this as I know it would be super healing. Everything was going well, as we started the first door (there are 4 doors to honor the 4 directions – so after each door there is a break) then the air was SUPER hot, it burned as it traveled in my nose. I started to feel panic and wanted to bolt out of there as fast as I could. One of the facilitators saw me (as it wasn’t completely dark) and told me to go into child’s pose and connect with Pachamama (Mother Earth). As soon as I felt my head connect to Pachamama I felt this cool, comforting sensation. I almost started crying because it was such a relief to breath and feel the comfort and familiarity of Mother Earth.

    I also had thoughts of “I’m taking the easy way out” and “Am I really getting the benefit?” Again, learning to surrender and accept where I am and not letting the mind go crazy. And not judging myself so harshly.

    Thanks for sharing, Erin! Love your posts.

  35. Rene says:

    Thank you so much Erin for the wonderful post! I’m new to your emails and already I feel like you’re speaking to me. 🙂 I’ve had many health problems over the past few years and battle with my current state everyday. After reading your post, I’ve decided to just let myself be where I need to be right now. It’s not where I want to be, but maybe it’s where I need to be for awhile. Thanks for giving me some peace! You have made a difference in my life. 🙂

  36. Angela says:

    I really needed this post. Thank you
    I just finished being angry at myself for quitting
    But sometimes it is ok to quit
    You need to quit
    This just rested my heart and my mind
    Thank you!

  37. Rachel says:

    Thank you Erin! I need to leave myself alone big time! I’m always struggling on with 6 hours sleep during week and it’s just not enough sleep. I know that but yet my difficulty with putting myself to bed lies with that inner voice pushing me to do more in my day. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Will try changing that voice to “you need to rest. You gotta go to bed!” Fingers crossed. Love and light x

  38. Karen says:

    Sorry for the late response. I was empowered by reading this, as I have just had a bad cold and struggling with energy etc. One day I did some washing but was unable to do anything else. I felt really guilty about doing nothing and found myself making excuses to my husband when he came home. He was fine with me doing nothing but I felt I had to justify laying on the sofa all day. This had made me think about looking after myself and not worrying about anything else. Thank you Erin xx

  39. Amos Samuels says:

    Dear Erin, thanks for giving out a nice message of not pushing oneself more then one needs to. It’s good that you came to realize this and did how much you could to the best of your ability. I have never done Hot yoga but I understand that it must make the session much more challenging. I’m not sure if you have heard of SSRF but recently I came across their website and read a very intriguing article about yoga. I thought you might like it and be able to relate to it :)- http://www.spiritualresearchfoundation.org/benefits-of-yoga-asanas