Do you have days where you feel like you need a nap break? I do.
Over the years of teaching yoga, I've noticed more and more the importance of self care practices like Yoga Nidra. Unlike a nap, that may leave you feeling more tired, yoga nidra is a deep relaxation practice that leaves you feeling nourished and rejuvenated.
Just the other day a beautiful mama and yogini asked me “how do you keep energized throughout the day?”
She asked - well because if you know me, I’m an early riser. When I say early, I mean EARLY- like 4 am.
I’m not kidding. There are no alarms that go off; this is just my natural wake pattern. Sleep and rest is incredibly important for our bodies to recover and heal — so when I'm impacted by insomnia during times of high stress and anxiety — I take no pride in this early riser capability.
In fact, even though our baby is now 18 months old, I still feel like I’m on the road to recovery as my inability to sleep well on some days has hindered my recovery.
Even when we are in a balanced and healthy state, we’re consistently bombarded with stimulation and stress merely by existing as a human in modern time. Work and family responsibilities coupled with the weight of events of the world all affect us on a cellular level.
Which is why slowing down, connecting with family and friends, self care and restorative practices are incredibly important.
In nature we continue to see a balance between yin and yang.
Yin: cooling, drying, grounded moon energy
Yang: heating, fiery, flowing sun energy
We see this in the transition of the seasons from summer—a yang time of year—to the cooler, shorter, and quieter days of winter.
If we take our cue from observing the natural world — we'll notice that animals begin to forage and harvest their energy stores for winter—following the instinctive wisdom that this time of year is for rest and hibernation, while humans tend to do the opposite.
Work deadlines, a smorgasbord of social gatherings, increased travel, and the impending demands of the holiday season places the human animal on the busy hamster wheel of life.
While there are many things that happen seasonally we're not able to control or change, there are self care methods we can implement to slow down, reboot, replenish, and rejuvenate ourselves.
So to answer my fellow mama’s question—“How do you keep energized throughout the day?”—I do so through the powerful practice of yoga nidra.
Rest is so important. Yoga Nidra is a powerful practice that supports complete relaxation that is fundamentally different from sleep. Even when we are asleep, we enter into states of dreaming that bring upon tension or muscular activity. A guided yoga nidra practice is different in that you are led through a multi point practice of full relaxation.
Now doesn’t that sound dreamy?
To share this practice with you, you can download this guided yoga nidra to take anywhere with you throughout the day. While I recommend that you practice this meditation lying down for a full re-boot, you can certainly practice this while sitting.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve practiced this in the car after teaching multiple back to back classes before I step into the house to place myself into full mama mode.
Just this week in fact, after a particularly long day day of morning classes, I was feeling wiped out. I had one more afternoon class to teach and I was dog dead tired. I had a choice to bust out some more email on a long list of replies or do a yoga nidra practice.
I chose to do yoga nidra, and let me tell you, my students benefitted so much more from a cheerful, calm and well rested teacher rather than one who’s energy is depleted.
So, if you feel like you don’t have time to do this 15 minute practice, it means that you most ESSENTIALLY need to block off time to do this practice. You may not be able to do it everyday, but carve out at least once or twice a week. I know you will thank yourself later for making this time.
There are a few things to note when doing this practice and so I’ve listed these essential principles to help you optimize your practice.
Now I would love to hear from you. Please email or comment below and let me know how you feel after trying this practice.
Also, do you have any additional practices that you do to help you re-boot during days where you feel depleted? Please share as your tips may help others in this community.
Enjoy yogis and sending you lots of peace and healing on this day.
Yoga Nidra essentials:
Create a sankalpa. A short and simple statement, stated in the present tense, an intention of a deep heart wish you’d like to manifest in your life.
Make time for practice. Traditionally yoga nidra is practiced at the same time of day, however this may not be easy for you. So do this practice when you can MAKE time for it. Schedule it on your calendar and set a reminder!
Find a quiet and calm place to lie down or a comfortable seated position.
Practice on an empty or semi-empty stomach. Do not do this practice after eating a huge meal.
When lying down, cover the body with a blanket and cover the eyes with a small towel or eye pillow.
Do not practice under a fan, next to a heater or open window where air is blowing over you.
Relax and enjoy.