Intentional Rest - is something many of us take for granted, or put off until later...but sometimes later only comes if we are forced to rest because of our health, or because we burn out.
There is a saying - listen to your body whisper so you won't have to listen to it scream...and I think this is really true.
Intentional rest - like taking time out for yoga, meditation or guided deep relaxation, is really something we have to commit to and make a habit of, in order to keep your light shining brightly. Burn out can leave you feeling numb, dull, without any energy or with a dimming life force. From my own experience it can take weeks, months or even years to replenish our mauri/ life force.
By practicing yoga and yoga nidra this is really taking that special time to just focus on you, and it's not selfish, it's necessary.
There are many pressures on us today to constantly be showing up, constantly striving, to be busy or achievement based. Then there is social media and the pressure to always be showing the best side of ourselves.
Many of us, wāhine and tāne, are juggling many roles as parents, workers, caregivers and much much more. This can lead to imbalance as we give out so much of our vital energy, there may not be anything leftover for ourselves.
By incorporating some self care by practicing yoga nidra regularly you are putting yourself on the priorities list, and this lets us know we too are important- it builds self confidence, trust in ourselves, responsibility and self love. It is empowering to know we have got our own backs. And is a good example to set for those around us.
By taking the time on a regular basis, the benefits are cumulative, and rather than swinging from burnout to energy to burn out, our energy can maintain itself in a steady and flowing way. Forming a habit for your practice is key.
One of the most healing things I feel that has helped me enormously in my life is a practice called - Yoga Nidra or guided Deep Relaxation, and in māori a beautiful name for this practice is - Rongoā Moemoeā... Dream Medicine
Yoga Nidra is a systematic relaxation on all levels - you are guided through the process by the teacher as they take you through the many layers - going deeper than just mental and physical, it will systematically release all the parts of you and is very effective at reaching the deeper levels of tension...it releases tensions that we may be holding onto for a very long time....often we feel much better without even knowing what has been released or why.
I was lucky enough to have an amazing yoga nidra tohunga for over ten years. He taught me alot about this as a healing practice, a way to release past impressions and to really let go. It was one of the most important things I did for myself during these years when I was a busy mum, running a retail business and a yoga business as well!
I don't know how I would have got on, if I had not had this valuable time to completely rest, restore and let go.
My practice through these times was to do yoga nidra at least once a week - it was at the end of every yoga class I attended and is at the end of every class I teach. I also used a recording to do at home- back in the days of CD's!
When you have completed the process you feel completely relaxed, some people may feel a little sleepy or drowsy when they first start practicing, but eventually as you become more aware and more used to relaxing without falling asleep, this feeling passes and you come out feeling relaxed yet energised.
It allows us to fully relax without overthinking the process. Some studies have shown it to be more effective than listening to music or walking in nature.
I feel that resting intentionally with Yoga Nidra - Rongoā Moemoeā, is an absolute gift for us in this world today ... the current time is very stressful for many, and as the saying goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup. Yoga nidra is definitely a time to refill your cup.
If you would like to come on a yoga nidra journey with me and experience it for yourself there is an amazing yoga nidra - deep relaxation video included in my online course - Aroha Nui Yoga for Calm - available here
The beauty of this is that you can do my Deep Relaxation at anytime without having to go through the whole programme first.
I highly recommend you try this practice as often as you can if you are feeling burnt out or close to it, or at least once a week as a part of your wellness/ self care routine.
Make it a habit to love yourself and refill that cup!