My business tag line is Work, Rest Play with Feng Shui – and it’s meant as a reminder that our spaces can help us achieve a Feng Shui balance so that our lives can express it, too. Here in the U.S. we’re not so good at balance. We are the “workaholic” culture; we now work more hours than any other country on the planet. I contend we now play harder than anyone else with our penchant for extreme sports, X-Games and the competitive nature of children’s athletics. What I don’t think we do very well is rest. I’m not talking about sleep – which we also don’t get enough of according to many studies– but rest, the conscious act of being still, the replenishment of total relaxation. Resting is the yin energy, to action’s yang energy. You’ve probably heard the saying: we’re human beings, not human doings!
Don’t have time to rest, you say? It has become a badge of honor to be busy, much to the negative impact on our nervous systems. Even the giraffe gets to rest if she outruns the leopard. Unfortunately for us, we never seem to outrun that leopard and the cortisol that pumps through our nervous systems as we race through our days is doing damage when it doesn’t get turned off. Rest is important enough for our health and well being to put in the schedule. I was reminded of this in my restorative yoga class recently. Of course, I had other things I was supposed to be doing – but I’d committed to going and there are only a certain number of spots in the class and it was in the schedule, for goodness sake! (I practice what I preach and schedule rest.)
In restorative yoga, the teacher instructs you to arrange your body in a gentle stretching position supported by props – bolsters, blankets, blocks and my personal favorite – the eye pillow. You allow yourself to be totally supported by the floor beneath you and all the props around you holding and/or apply pressure. Your job as the student is to relax, to melt, as my teacher tells us, into your mat for up to fifteen minutes. In Feng Shui, we often talk about environments supporting us – creating spaces that harmonize and serve our goals. We do this by moving furniture, arranging things, de-cluttering and enhancing with accessories. I realized that I was doing all those things in my restorative yoga class, allowing the floor beneath me, my mat and my props to totally support me. I was, in fact, de-cluttering my mind and body while allowing the gentle flow of ch’i – my breath mingling with that of my classmates – to restore me.
What is rest to you? If you can identify what relaxes you and make time to restore yourself, you’re practicing Feng Shui at the most fundamental level – letting your environment support you so that you can do and be all that wish for.