One of my favourite moments in cinematographic history is the Bubble Bath scene in Pretty Woman. Julia Roberts’ character, bathing luxuriously, flaunts not a care in the world as she sips champagne and jams to her walkman. I’ve tried it many times. Yet five minutes into the bath, I am bored. Can’t relax. Have other things to do. I feel more relaxed and lovely watching Julia Roberts do it.
But even still, Bubble Baths do not qualify as official form of relaxation or meditation, according to traditional yogis. Relaxation and meditation are two different processes, boasting very set rules as to what is and isn’t the other. I won’t list specifics because imagining a star on my forehead, assigning numbers to different muscles in the body and relating each number to the big star is all pretty hogwash to me. In fact, I was kicked out of yoga teacher training because I refused to do it, rather, for my meditation project, keeping a journal of my quiet hikes in the enchanted forest with my dog.
But because I’m trying to Find My Yoga this year, I worked extra hard during last week’s yoga practice to cooperate. Yoga Bob always concludes his great classes with a relaxation. And I was prepared! For the first two minutes, my eyes remained closed. Yet I couldn’t stop thinking about what was next in my day. Two and half minutes later, my eyes popped wide open, staring directly at the ceiling. And many subjects crossed my mind. My projects, my big hair, my dog, my pregnant sister, bicycling, kayaking, pretty Easter eggs (seriously, and I don’t eat eggs), ballet, and sex. All in 10 minutes.
And then he whispered, “In savasana, the superfluous disappears. And all that remains is gold.”
End of relaxation.
And I quickly raced to my mobile to document his ending statement for blogging purposes. It was really nice. Just not my style. Very irrational. I don’t want to imagine my body being gold. What’s the value in that? I’d rather wear a little piece of gold that I’ve earned. I don’t want to silence my brain. I don’t want to sleep after yoga. And even when I am sleeping, I crave dreaming.
Yesterday I was totally stressed out. So a friend suggested that I get a massage. “NO.” Then he suggested that I get a man. “NO.” Then he gave up. Another good friend suggested, “Go work out and snuggle with Ms. G, I promise it will help!!” And it totally did. For me, relaxation is watching Julia Roberts take a Bubble Bath, remaining anonymous on the busy streets of New York, walking in the forest with my dog, hardcore exercising, or not talking for days. And I can totally do it. I once went an entire week without speaking verbally. It felt so good. That is my relaxation. Relaxation is not imagining a star on my forehead then journaling about it. But maybe that is your thing. :)
How do you practice relaxation and meditation?