The Nature of Rest

Resources for 2023

Restorative Yoga Retreat at Mana Retreat
with Karla Brodie and Neal Ghoshal

Kia ora Restorative Yoga friends.

We hope this reaches you all well. Thank you for joining us at Mana in June - it was an absolute pleasure to be with you and share rest and movement practice, awe walking, song and nourishing food.

We hope you will enjoy these resources including poems, podcasts and a playlist that informed what we explored. Of course there will be another Restorative Yoga retreat next year - we will let you know when the details have been finalised and bookings are available.

Writings, poems and quotes

Held, Matt Licata
“In those moments when we are held, our nervous systems down regulate, our minds soften, our hearts open, and we come into an ancient sort of rest. That rest that we’ve been longing for in a lifetime that always seemed just out of reach. The rest from the becoming.

While our true nature as open, luminous awareness is the ultimate holding environment, as tender human beings we are wired to rest within a relational matrix.

To enter into this field with another – weaved of the alchemical substances of presence and of space – is one of the great mysteries of the embodied world.

Held by another, held within by our own hearts, or held by a star – somehow we are already held. It’s not something we must earn or deserve or search for.

Held by the morning light as it comes into a room, by the song of the birds, by the imaginal world. Infinitely, already held.”


Meditation and Love, Bob Sharpels
Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer the need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough. It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many of our lives in a knot. Instead there is now meditation as an act of love. How endlessly delightful and encouraging.


The Peace of Wild Things, Wendell Berry
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting for their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


The Wild Geese, Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal inside your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I’ll tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of rain are moving across the landscape,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clear blue air,
Are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place in the family of things.


Judith Lasater
“Going at the speed of the body.”


Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
How surely gravity’s law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing — each stone, blossom, child — is held in place.

If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things …

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before it can fly.


The Playground, Tula Ghoshal (age 12)
I sit in the warm sun on dry bark.
I can hear the birds singing sweetly
and the bees buzzing busily.
The trees around me sway in the soft breeze like seaweed.
The lush green leaves are dancing peacefully around me.
Clouds are slowly walking across the sky.
Deep red flowers are drooping on a bush nearby like heavy rain drops.
The ropes of the playground swing gently,
the wind whispers secretively.
The sunbeams glisten in my face,
shielding the soft breeze.
I carefully pick up a handful of bark,
I let it sift through my fingers
slowly as though it were flour.
I feel a sense of belonging,
of safety and of happiness.

The Nature of Rest, a Restorative Yoga Retreat, poster
Mana Retreat Sanctuary

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