I started the new year off with a nice long yoga practice and long unhurried rest at the end...ahhh. Practice has been a little stiff for a couple days as I returned from a 4-day camping trip earlier in the week. The hiking and cold weather certainly made itself felt!
It got me thinking about what happens when there is some time off from practice though. Generally, I practice 6 days/week, taking 1 day off per week for rest. The first day of each new practice week after 1 day off is usually a little tighter than other days. As an experiment I have tried not taking a rest day off. Not surprisingly, I was tired! I know a few practitioners that don't take rest days and it seems to work fine for them. I definitely feel better with a rest day...but what about several days off?
I was away camping and hiking for 4 days. I went with full intentions of doing some practice each day, but the weather changed my mind. We were in the midst of a cold snap, in fact the coldest weather we've had all year! Outdoor practice when lows were below freezing and the highest daily temperatures were barely making it to 50 F was not something I could bring myself to do. I am a Floridian after all!
Four days was the longest that I have gone without any yoga asana practice in years. The result? I am all the more convinced of the benefits of regular daily yoga practice with 1 day off each week for rest. Four days without yoga asana practice left me very aware and very grateful for all the benefits that this extraordinary practice provides!
More thoughts in the next post on the balance between practice and rest!