Human Beings or Human Doings? The Importance of Rest


The other week I was listening to a podcast by Thich Naht Hanh who mentioned that our on-the-go society has trouble resting. I mean actually resting. Oftentimes we take breaks or vacations with a plan to recharge both mentally and physically, but quite frequently, the opposite happens. We end up going back to work our our routine less energized then we'd hoped. Why is this?

When I think back to my travel experiences to countries like Italy and South East Asia like Vietnam and Bali, it seems like in those cultures, rest is just a normal part of their routine. In Italy, shops close down mid-day. In Asia, kids go home during the middle of the day to eat lunch with their families. I'm guilty of not knowing how to rest myself, as in finding stillness and being at peace with doing nothing. In yoga we practice savasana, that chance to come to a place of stillness and allow all the benefits of our practice to soak in.  We are human beings after all, not human doings. Rest is just as important as pushing, evolving and growing. Sometimes rest is what gives us that extra boost of motivation once our body, mind and souls have the chance to take time off.

So what can you do this week to rest? Here's what I'm going to do. Read. Get extra sleep. Relax in a hammock. Mindful walks through the woods. Sip tea. Take a bath.