“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” – Etty Hillesum
I have a complicated relationship with yoga. It’s an on-again-off-again, love-hate affair.
Right now it’s on-again/love. Sort of.
I used to do Bikram (hot) yoga, then I did Power yoga. Both of these styles of yoga require strength, athleticism, and flexibility. They are a workout.
When I finished a Bikram or Power yoga class, the Savasana, or Corpse Pose, at the end of class was my favorite part, a welcome respite from the torture of holding difficult positions much longer than was comfortable.
Now I am doing Restorative, or Yin yoga, a gentler version involving stretching and meditation. It seems like a better compliment to running.
I am working through a program designed to be a 21-day yoga “streak“. I am not streaking, however. I only do it about three days a week. And I haven’t done it for five days, so maybe my relationship with yoga is drifting toward “off“.
One of the things I love about yoga is the wise, pithy sayings tossed around by the instructors. Stretching my body is good but stretching my mind is even better.
The quote at the beginning of this post was one I have been hanging onto for quite a while. It sounds like something a yoga instructor would say. I think sometimes we don’t take enough deep breaths, much less appreciate the rest between them.
I think we don’t waste enough time.
Today, I’m not only going to give you permission to waste time, but I’m also going to suggest you make it a habit.
I have a few modest suggestions to get you started.
Stare out the window
This is what I see when I stare out my back window.
Just beyond the deck and the backyard is a little woodlot. I can’t tell you how much time I have wasted watching the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and groundhogs who live there.
What starts out as nature-watching usually winds up as daydreaming, another very worthwhile time-waster.
I have come up with some of my very best, most creative ideas while daydreaming.
Rub your forehead
Try this: close your eyes, unclench your jaw, let your tongue fall away from the roof of your mouth, and lightly rub your fingers across your forehead for a minute or so.
Isn’t that heaven?
You have a nerve running from approximately your nose to your scalp across your forehead called the supratrochlear nerve. When you pass your fingers gently over this nerve, it stimulates tension-releasing feel-good hormones to flow.
Well worth wasting a few minutes on each day.
Stay in the car to finish listening to a song
It seems like every time I listen to the radio in the car, the best song comes on just as I shift the transmission into “park“.
I no longer turn off the ignition with regret and hustle off to wherever I am going. I stay in the car to finish listening to the song (or story, if I am listening to NPR).
Then I walk away from the car, feeling upbeat and singing. To myself, of course. I would never subject the random parking-lot population to my horrendous renditions of popular songs.
I have traded regret for, if not exactly elation, something pretty close.
Drink something delicious and smile
This is a “twofer“, as my dad used to say.
Drinking something delicious seems like more of an indulgent treat to me than eating something delicious.
Some of my favorites are chocolate milk, herbal tea, and smoothies.
I make my smoothies, by the way, with four ingredients in the blender – plain full-fat yogurt, some kind of fruit juice, a banana, and some kind of frozen fruit. My juice/fruit combinations could be orange/mango, pineapple/mixed berries, or whatever I have on hand.
The act of smiling induces your brain to release chemicals called neuropeptides, which are stress-busters. Also released are dopamine and serotonin, both of which elevate your mood.
Here is what I want you to do: get a delicious drink, sit in your comfy chair, and sip, smile, repeat.
Your family may think you have finally gone around the bend, or they may wonder what you are up to, but you will feel good, I guarantee it.
Find a way to waste some time today.
I’m giving you permission, even though you don’t need it.
Then take some deep breaths and appreciate the rest between them.
You can find the places I link up here.