The second day of Judith's workshop was equally as informative as the first. The sutra study for the workshop was from Pada II v.16, "Heyam dukham anagatam" or "The suffering that is to come is to be avoided." It is a fascinating concept because everything we do in life is to put our anxiety at rest. We constantly try to control our circumstances to appease our anxiety and avoid suffering.
Anxiety is a Vata dosha imbalance. Vata is cold, dry and light and composed of air and space. Both Judith and a recent Ayurvedic Class I attended referred to the fact that our society as a whole is Vata-deranged. Vata controls movement and is out of balance when we are scattered. In our fast-paced, convenience-based, "I want it now!" societal structure, we are all suffering from an imbalance of Vata dosha. We all jump from thing to thing to thing to thing... Sound familiar? It is simply the reality of being human and the goal of meditation and yoga - to quiet the mind.
The yoga practice for vata imbalance are asana which calm the head and neck and ultimately the nervous system, including calming forward bends and side extension poses likeTrikonasana, triangle pose, and Parsvakonasana, extended side angle pose. All poses should be practiced with meditative attention and with the guide to lengthen the back of the neck and soften the gaze so as not to disturb vata.
We finished our session with 2 hours of restorative yoga including Viparita Karani, Legs Up the Wall Pose, Supta Baddha Konasana, Supine Bound Angle Pose, Pranayama focused on prolonged exhalation, and Savasana. We held these poses for 20 to 30 minutes each to fully experience the profound benefits of the poses. Ultimately the recommendation is to practice one of these long-held restorative poses EVERY DAY to calm Vata. With our constant exposure to light, sound, electromagnetic radiation, stress and every other stimulation, our bodies crave this practice particularly in the cold, dark, dry months of Winter. I recommend using Judith's book Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times to practice this Winter. Judith also recommends The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.