The power of rest

Rest for others as well as yourself. By Paula Hines

I’m feeling a little reflective writing this, as it’s one year since my book, Rest + Calm was published.

Rest seems to be having its moment, a bit like ‘self-care’ before it, being presented to us as something fluffy or frivolous (of which it’s neither). But rest is not a trend.

There are lots of ways to rest. With my book, my deep wish was to be able to share elements of the practice, which continues to teach me so much about myself (and Self) and life, with a greater number of people than I can reach in my classes and workshops. Rest + Calm is grounded in restorative yoga, which I’ve now taught for over a decade and also includes other calming practices and tips for day-to-day intentional living.

Why restorative yoga? Because it’s the practice I needed the most. It took me years to realise I’d inherited my mother’s guilt of resting. Growing up, this guilt was something I witnessed in her peers. (I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they had all migrated to this country from elsewhere to build new lives.)

Long-time readers of this column will know about my year of daily savasana from 2014 to 2015 (The 365 Savasana Project), which was born out of exhaustion. I wish I could say it was the first time I’d experienced burnout, but I’d been there before in my old career working in television. Though I enjoyed my job, the demands, workload and erratic, long hours took their toll eventually. And I wasn’t alone in this among colleagues – it was a by-product of the culture at the time.

By 2014, I’d been teaching yoga for a few years and, as I hadn’t learned the lesson, it came back around again. I was happy to give to others what I appeared to be unwilling to give myself. Of course, I ended up depleted and in a position where I was no longer able to give even a fraction of my best to anyone, let alone myself.

Physical rest is one of the types of rest we all need. If restorative yoga isn’t for you, please find what is.

As I wrote in Rest + Calm: “Rest is essential, not just for our individual selves, but also for each other – for our collective wellbeing… When you’re rested, it’s good for everyone around you. Imagine how different the world would be if we were all well-rested.”

Paula Hines is a London-based yoga teacher and writer. Her book Rest + Calm (Green Tree, Bloomsbury Publishing) is out now in paperback, audiobook and Kindle/eBook. Find out more at:

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