Generally I try to wake up on the weekends within an hour of my weekday wake up time. But sometimes I deviate, as was the case today.
I woke up at 8 am, 3 hours later than my weekday wake up time, after having fallen asleep at 10 pm the night before. That’s 10 hours of sleep — almost double my typical nights sleep.
It’s unusual for me to sleep more than 6–7 hours a night. When I do, the next day is almost never good.
Rather than feeling refreshed, I felt sluggish. I could hardly move. I felt tired and lethargic.
I got myself outside into the sunlight and rolled out my yoga mat. I proceeded to move slowly through some poses to wake up my body. But it wasn’t happening.
I looked at the clock. I knew there was a CrossFit class at my gym in 20 minutes. My next action was the quickest I moved all morning. Within moments I had registered for class, rolled up my mat, gathered my things, and was in the car headed to my first ever CrossFit class.
I realize you might be confused.
There was a part of me that was confused.
As I drove to the gym, there was a voice in my head that told me this was the last thing I should do.
You’re so tired you can hardly move. It’s a perfect day to take a rest.
In our culture we are conditioned to always be doing. Rest is important. It’s one of the reasons I write so much about rest.
I’m a huge advocate for many forms of passive and receptive rest, and I practice what I teach: Yin Yoga, Resotrative Yoga, Yoga Nidra (also known as Non-Sleep Deep Rest), and other healing modalities like Reiki and sound healings are all a regular part of my practice.
As important as these passive forms of rest are, we can have too much rest.
In fact, fatigue can be a result of too much rest.
The Yin (passive) energy always must be in balance with the Yang (active) energy. Too much Yang can lead to burnout. But too much yin can lead to stagnation and inertia.
After 10 hours of sleep, my body was craving a jolt of energy. And I knew it wasn’t going to get it if I was left on my own.
I needed to be in a community setting, with other people doing the same thing I was doing. I needed the energy of the collective.
This wasn’t always obvious to me. It’s taken me time to discern which is the resistance and what is it I really need.
There are still days when I get it wrong: when I push too hard where I needed real rest, or when I get stuck in too much yin on the theory that it will be restorative.
Today I got it right.
CrossFit, and more generally working out in a community setting, was exactly what I needed. It wasn’t just about the workout; it was also about the community and the camaraderie.
Within a few minutes of the start of class my body was moving better than it usually does in the morning. I felt invigorated by the workout and inspired by the people around me.
When we feel tired, it’s natural to assume that we need more rest. And often that is the case, given our hectic and “busy” lives.
But “rest” doesn’t always mean passive rest.
Rest includes anything that ignites your spark and boosts your energy.
If passive rest leaves you feeling more tired, perhaps it’s a good bet that you need something more active.
The only way to know is to test it.