Creating Space for Stillness with Yoga Nidra
My introduction to the wonderful practice of Yoga Nidra
Being a single mamma, I have always embraced the idea of ‘meditation’ - what mother is going to pass up an opportunity to lay down for half an hour away from the children and all the other distractions we have come to accept as ‘life’?!
A few years ago, I went on a retreat and I was introduced to yoga Nidra. Again, not wanting to pass up another opportunity to lay under a blanket in everyone’s favourite yoga position, savasana, I was absolutely blown away. It felt like a powerful yet natural anaesthetic, falling in and out of sleep, floating in the spaces between Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash complete rest and transient dreamscape, I didn’t want it to end.
The incredible benefits of Yoga Nidra The more I learnt of its benefits, the more hooked I became. What overwhelmed mother isn’t going to be interested investing in half hour of yoga Nidra to benefit from the equivalent to four hours deep restorative sleep! Yes it’s relaxing, but it is SO much more.
Significantly reduces anxiety
Lowers the heart rate
Reduces levels of the stress chemical Cortisol
Opens your mind to different levels of consciousness and creativity
While your mind is in this state of consciousness it is at its most suggestible. Which allows it to be receptive to great change and inner growth. Unearthing and clearing past conditioning that have all played their part in holding you back.
The more I practiced, the more I simply had to make it a daily habit, a non-negotiable. I’m not urging everyone to make kimchi (although its benefits for gut health are undeniable) or to swath yourself in purple, but if the last 18 months have taught me anything, it’s that nobody is coming to save you. And that learning to sit with yourself is transformational.
Self-growth and expansion aren’t peaches and cream. Its meeting the sour, gut wrenching, unpalatable parts of ourselves that we find excruciatingly difficult to look at, let alone embrace. Yet by seeing life through a new lens and the ability to accept all of you, even the spiky bits, is liberating.
I believe us mothers have an unshakeable resilience for everything outside of ourselves; but very often, a fragile detachment to our own needs and nurturing. We have such a strong maternal superpower channelled to everyone but ourselves. Priding ourselves on knowing every intricate detail about our offspring but failing to recognise the person staring back at us in the mirror.
I love my children, however this time of deep reflection has made me more aware then ever of the honest impact motherhood has had on my emotional well-being and sense of identity.
A little about me and my own journey My own journey is somewhat a blur. A monumental step taken from teenage rebellion into motherhood, still a child myself raising my first daughter alone with nothing than an unwavering conviction to keep her safe and loved and supported, yet still trying to play catch up from my own childhood. Overcoming adversity and traumas I carried with me into adulthood, no doubt subconsciously projected remnants of failed toxic relationships onto my children, I clung to the hope that I managed to shield some of my transparent endless people pleasing and saviour syndrome of my youth, outsourcing the most emotionally damaged men to father my children, all in a futile attempt to understand my own dad.
Yoga Nidra, the gentle introduction to all of your parts the bridge between you and yourself - your true self
When you step into your power of knowing that even at the times you feel you made the wrong choices for now, but acceptance that they were right for then. That your experiences don’t define you but are the universe’s way of nudging you back to yourself, to step up, to reclaim you, to make yourself count. Then you can begin to forgive and accept yourself. Beyond your out of reach egoistic version of your ‘best’ self.
We are already whole.
Now more than ever it’s important we raise our vibration, move away from this perpetual state of dis-ease - fighting our inner demons of self-inadequacies, unconscious toxic habits, circular thinking and limiting beliefs so ingrained we accept them to be who we are. And it couldn’t be further from the truth.
It’s not a race to the end, the journey is beautiful, the endless unfurling, the seemingly falling apart but continuously becoming. There is no destination, no arriving, we never stop growing and learning, the magic is in the moments of stillness when our minds can rest in those spaces between wakefulness and sleep.
“Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most
valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of
today and the culture of tomorrow.”
In a society that has been so focused on isolation, I invite you to stretch your already overflowing arms of compassion for others to yourself. As a mother life is an emotional roller-coaster no matter what global circus descends, combine the last 18 months of lockdowns and rising anxiety there is no greater need for inner peace, bullet proof resilience and space to reset our overthinking tired minds and recalibrate with our natural state of bliss.
There is an online culture of toxic marketing and quick fix solutions that play into our already open ‘not enough’ wounding. Coupled with the next generation trying to navigate their own self-discovery that feels dependant on how many ‘likes’ they have accumulated. Our younger children bored the minute they move away from a device because they are accustomed to an outpouring and saturation of stimulation and information, their heads bowed down like a slave to technology. There is no greater time to disconnect to reconnect.
Whatever the question, nature is always the answer. Immerse yourself in it.
Breath in the trees, swim in the sea, feel the earths support on your bare feet, the sand between your toes. Live intentionally and consciously, take care of the planet and positively impact the lives of others in any way you can, become your own anchor.
We can’t put the brakes on the world, but we can certainly slow down to reconnect with ourselves and encourage our children to look up once in a while.
You can contact Shelley via her email: firstname.lastname@example.org