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Friday, February 24, 2006

napping in class

last saturday, i drove south to the OC to visit my sister, and as usual, i spent the night just so i wouldn't have to deal with struggling through the hour-long drive home half awake (or more like half asleep, especially if we have a big dinner before i head back).

the olympics were on tv that evening, so i grabbed a nice warm blanket and curled up on her couch... and promptly fell asleep. when i woke up in the middle of the night, both my neck and my back were stiff, thanks to the down-filled and totally unsupportive sofa cushions. i moved myself to the bed in her guest room, hoping that i could somehow undo the damage, but to no avail; i was still stiff and achy sunday morning.

by that afternoon, i wasn't any better. just thinking about the level 2/3 yoga class that i had planned to take that evening when i got back to LA made my back ache even more.

so i logged onto the internet to check out my options. restorative yoga... yes, that's what i needed. santa monica yoga had one that evening. so did sacred movement. but it was the class at yoga works westwood that caught my eye, not only because it was described as "candlelight vinyasa flow with restoratives", but because my google search on the instructor, kristen rentz, came up with this intro to her latest book, YogaNap: Restorative Poses for Deep Relaxation:

"Are you stressed? Overworked? Overtired? Feel like you need a nap? You're not alone. We're all running out of steam! What we desperately need is a YogaNap. Taking a YogaNap is the simple stress solution, the anxiety antidote, the cure for common craziness. While taking a YogaNap, you'll mostly practice what are called restorative yoga poses. I discovered restorative yoga a few years into my personal yoga practice. A vigorous yoga practice had certainly helped me cope with the stress of law school - so much so that I was practicing six days a week, I was healthy and strong, but I was exhausted. One day, I found myself struggling to decide between going to yoga or going home to take a nap. Without thinking, the phrase flew out of my mouth - I need a YogaNap."

kristen's class turned out to be pretty much as advertised. it started out slowly, eventually progressing to a level 1/2 vinyasa flow class, then easing back to a restorative pose or two before final savasana. when all was said and done, i realized that i really didn't get the half-and-half combination of flow and restoratives that i had expected. but since i was able to keep up with the class without causing additional strain on my spasmed muscles, i couldn't really complain. as they say: no harm, no foul...

according to amazon.com, YogaNap has a chapter titled "yoga backrub: poses to ease your aching back". with that in mind, i'll probably head down to my nearest borders bookstore to browse through her book and she what she recommends i do. in the meantime, i guess there's always advil and a hot compress the next time my back decides to act up. argh.