Time for a Yoga Nap
By Jessica Berger Gross
When Kristen Rentz was spending long days and nights studying for the bar exam, she was, like most of her fellow law students, exhausted. Practicing yoga had helped Rentz get through law school at UCLA, but going to yoga class several times a week on top of all her bar exam studying left her feeling utterly drained.
Rentz began experimenting with classical restorative yoga postures at home. She quickly realized that there was much more to yoga than vigorous backbends, handstands, and downward facing dogs. By slowing down her practice and incorporating restful poses into her daily life, Rentz found a way to maintain a sense of calm despite her busy schedule.
These days, as a full-time entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles and part-time yoga teacher, Rentz continues to find new ways of integrating yoga into her demanding daily life. During particularly heavy workdays, she practices yoga at her desk or in the elevator, and tries to maintain an even, steady, yogic breath when talking to colleagues and clients. She finds that even a pose or two at a time-a supported child’s pose or forward bend-can make a big difference, leaving her more relaxed and refreshed throughout the day.
Rentz’s recently released book, YogaNap: Restorative Poses for Deep Relaxation(Marlowe & Company, 2005), with illustrations by Kajiah Jacobs, describes these and other soothing and energizing postures. YogaNap offers poses to practice in a pair of your favorite cotton pajamas and comfy socks as well as poses to employ on your lunch break or while sitting in commuter traffic.
“A Yoga Nap,” says Rentz, “is a way to replenish our bodies and spirits through comfortable, soothing restorative yoga and yogic breathing.” YogaNap poses promise to reduce stress and bring about a sense of peace and relaxation. Even those pressed for time can find a few minutes a day for a mini yoga nap. Rentz suggests spending three minutes a day in legs-up-the-wall pose and seeing what a difference even that can make. “And,” she adds, “more than likely you’ll find yourself moving into other poses once you’re in your practice.”