The Right to Rest


Contrary to popular belief, I was not born a tree-loving, early-morn-meditating, kale-and-purslane-eating wellness lover.  I was actually a bit of an intense kid, young adult, and twenty-something.

As an ambitious, athletic and overextended young person, I can remember quite clearly the first time I went to a yoga class and learned about the concept of Savasana or “the pose of repose.” I scoffed at the idea of laying down in stillness for the final 3-5 minutes of practice, and actually thought to myself:

Is this some sort of joke? Who in the world can lay still for that long?

My thoughts raged and raced, and it truly felt like it was the most unproductive use of time I’d ever experienced. I kid you not, there were many future yoga classes in which I boldly rolled up my mat and ran out the door when the teacher was turning down the lights and guiding students into my nemesis, that final pose of rest. 

But one day, things transformed.

I was traveling for my corporate job at the time and about to go workout at the hotel gym. I was exhausted from meetings but no stranger to pushing through for a big run or other sweat-pumping workout. That said, despite my best efforts, I simply could not bring myself to put on my sneakers. It was almost comical. I remember reaching down and trying to put shoes on my feet and I could. Not. Do. It.

It was as if my body was finally taking charge of my mind, and demanding something slower, stiller and perhaps sweeter.  

Because the truth of it is, I was denying myself permission to rest. I was denying my body's tells by prioritizing my plans over my needs, as many do in our light-speed modern lives.

But what would it look like if we started to feel worthy of rest? What would it mean to actually allow the body's wisdom to shine through and inform how we move and how we practice stillness?

For me on that fateful day in my twenties, in the middle of a random hotel room, it meant doing some slow yoga on the floor and actually allowing myself space for a full, juicy, and appreciated Savasana. It was a tipping point and the beginning of a new quest of listening to my body and feeding it the nourishment – from a multisensory perspective – that it actually craved.

It's a journey that turned my whole world (and career) upside down, and one I wouldn't change for anything. A journey to denial and extreme resistance of rest to now teaching guided relaxation and stress reduction to companies, colleges, and individuals across the country.

May you too experience your own worthiness for the sweet rest you need.

Joanna Andreae