When the yogis are away the cats come out to play.
I don’t keep my love of cats secret, but did you know that in my early twenties I was absolutely allergic to my favourite animals? Even just to be in a house that contained a cat I would need to tank up on antihistamines and avoid touching them at all costs. It was a fairly sad state of affairs as I have always loved cats.
In 2011, I attended my first ‘intensive’ restorative yoga workshop with my teacher Judith Hanson Lasater. It was five days of practicing (and learning to teach) supported postures for deep relaxation.
At the end of the five days my cat allergy was cured. I haven’t had an antihistamine since and in 2012 I convinced Henry to let me take in the fabulous Black Treacle, who is my favourite being to talk to, as he always agrees with me…
Was it a miracle? I am not sure, but I do believe that a regular and consistent practice of restorative yoga or deep relaxation can have a profound effect each and every one of our body’s systems (e.g. digestive, immune, endocrine, reproductive, nervous etc).
When you lie down to rest you switch from ‘fight or flight’ into ‘rest and digest’, from ‘urgent business’ to ‘growth and repair’.
It may sound too simple to be true, but I really believe lying down and ‘just being’ is almost miraculous in what it can achieve.
Also, looking at pictures of cute animals can make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, which produces the hormone oxytocin, which helps you to relax. Our pets also show us very naturally how ‘letting go’ is done.