My mission is to help busy women relax. Relaxation is a tough state to achieve because it’s hard for one person to offer a one-size-fits-all solution.
Being in the business of relaxation is like being in the business of tailoring suits. Unfortunately, most of us just think we can do activities that others say are relaxing and be good to go. When we find out that reading or massages actually give us more anxiety than endorphin-induced euphoria, we get even more stressed out and decide that the whole “relaxation” thing must not be for us.
But I don’t believe that’s true. Everyone can relax. Everyone might just find a different way to do it. That’s why I’m having so much fun with the 2013 Wellness Challenge. Each week I try a new wellness activity in the hopes of finding more health, but also more relaxation and more happiness. By the end of the year, I’ll have racked up 52 different ways to add more wellness and relaxation to your life. Most likely at least one of those ways will be the ticket to a healthier you.
So how do you get that deep relaxation?
After saying all this, I do want to introduce you to a particular practice of yoga that I’ve had great results with and my students love. It’s called yoga nidra. Yoga nidra translates to yoga sleep because you lie down on your back and essentially go to sleep for an hour. That’s why everyone loves it! No physical poses, no hard, grueling movements and stretches. Just the challenge of staying still and delving deep into the mind for 30-60 minutes.
Don’t get me wrong, yoga nidra isn’t necessarily easy by any means. For some people (I’m talking to you Type A’s) laying down doing nothing and listening to your thoughts sounds like downright torture. However, when guided intelligently through the yogic sleep session, your stress and tension starts to melt away, a feeling of joy pervades your entire being and the deepest relaxation you will ever feel settles down in, around and outside of you. You realize that it is indeed possible to “let go” and you start to deeply and intimately understand the meaning of some of those esoteric yoga clichés that teachers use as simple instruction.
Yoga Nidra asks you to feel – everything. The good, the bad and the ugly. Taking the adage “the only way out is through” to heart, the practice of yoga nidra assumes that if you experience everything as it comes without reactivity, you’ll get through it. If on the other hand you ignore, swat away or push back certain emotions, feelings or sensations that you don’t want to deal with, those same emotions, feelings and sensations will hang out and show up at the most unexpected and inconvenient times.
Now obviously, yoga nidra is a practice just like anything else and achieving deep relaxation takes focus and a bit of intentional effort. The cool thing about the practice, as with anything else in yoga is that it’s different every time.
Where to find yoga nidra
Although yoga nidra is sometimes offered at yoga studios as a class you can show up for, it’s just as effective at home with a guided recording. You don’t need any special props and you won’t get hurt if you don’t have an instructor standing right next to you giving proper adjustment. It’s truly a practice you can take with you anywhere you go.
I’ve had such great results with yoga nidra lately, that I’ve released a downloadable CD of yoga nidra guided meditations for you to enjoy. Newsletter subscribers have access to the exclusive subscriber bonus page where I’ve uploaded some guided meditations, including a brand new mini yoga nidra practice. Go check it out if you haven’t listened yet and give yourself the gift of deep relaxation!
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What is your favorite way to relax? Let me know in the comments below!