I was scrolling through Instagram. Specifically, Karen Brody’s feed. She’s what I’m going to call a ‘rest’ expert. Which means her feed is super enticing, with messages and images daring us to rest more in our lives, the benefits made ridiculously clear simply from me staring at pictures of candles, cushions and colourful blankets. (I made an immediate mental note to get her latest book ‘Daring to Rest’ into my Amazon basket pronto, which I’m happy to report is now resting on my bedside table).
Her premise of a ‘rest cave’ itself is deliciously enticing. Even when I feel like I am pretty good at saying Yes to me in my life and generally caring for my own needs first, it got me questioning – am I just ‘doing’ these activities or am I really truly, deeply experiencing them?
I first heard about yoga nidra (which Karen teaches) from my acupuncturist I went to see over ten years ago. When I first rocked up at his practice I thought I was going in to get rid of my migraines, a couple of digestive issues, and that feeling of anxiety that kept showing up. Little did I know at the time, he was opening me up to a whole new way of life. He essentially prescribed me yoga nidra within my first few sessions (in the form of a CD at the time), telling me to start small (there was a shorter 20min track) and work my way up to the longer tracks. It was completely foreign to me, I had no idea what he was talking about. Being the curious soul that I am though, I eagerly said Yes to any of his recommendations at the time and so dutifully bought my CD.
There were days when I arrived for my appointment and he’d have emerged himself from his very own nidra practice – a simple 10mins he said he’d slip into his days when his energy was fading. And he was always glowing. Smiling. Gentle and caring in his approach. I immediately felt calm in his presence.
And so I gave it a go. And as with most practices that involve me lying down and listening to a soft, gentle voice, I quickly softened into slumber… and after a few more times that slumber turned more into a sense of release, of deep relief. I myself would emerge somewhat lighter and clearer inside my chest, almost glowing, and certain that I could take another step forward.
In some ways I’ve been more focused on doing not being with my own personal rest practices recently. Karen’s feed took me straight back to my introduction to the benefits of deep, intentional, rest. The kind that you surrender to fully. That you purposefully create time and space for. That commitment to my own energy saved me in so many ways. It slowly put me back together again after a period of neglect and running on empty.
Having my own personal practice of rest has become a must in my life. And the art of rest is in the being not the doing.
So how will you choose to BE?
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For me, I’m being more conscious now of how I’m incorporating rest into my daily life. I’m choosing to be loving and gentle with myself. Asking what do you most need right now? And I’m listening to the response. Instead of adding yoga nidra back on to my To-Do list, I’ve instead put it into my being. Returning to it when I feel the pull. (Funnily enough the more I return to it the stronger it pulls 😉).
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