Yoga can help you rest and de-stress.
For a long time, I used to feel guilty for stopping and taking time for myself.
In my head, there were so many other things I should be doing.
Being busy all the time was like a badge of honour. It meant (to me anyway) that I was a successful human being.
I was so ‘bad’ with my guilt that if a member of my family saw me sitting around on the sofa, I would immediately get up and do something, so they wouldn’t think I was lazy.
Does this resonate with you?
This is a crazy mindset to have but many of us fall into the trap.
Yoga has helped me to develop a new relationship with rest.
I have learnt that rest is a friend for productivity and I don’t feel guilty anymore for taking time out.
I get less done when I am tired and frazzled.
The Yoga Way To Rest …
Before you ask –it does not involve sitting in front of the tv watching the latest box set or film.
Because even though your body is chilling, your brain is still very much on the go!
Yoga helps to rest both the brain and the body so is a far superior way of getting good quality rest.
Below are three of my favourite yoga ways to rest and I hope that you will try one or more out.
Yin yoga is a slow style of yoga that focuses on stretching the connective tissue (the deeper tissues of the body) to release built-up tension and lengthen them.
The poses are held anywhere from 3-7 minutes and also work with the energy meridians in your body.
Yin yoga helps to increase flexibility, improve joint mobility and release trauma in the body.
Yin yoga is different to restorative yoga (please see below) as it requires more effort.
You may now be wondering why I have put it down as one of my favourite ways to rest.
Well, firstly, the longer stretch times help the body release tension and trauma. Often we hold the emotions of our busy lives in our tissues so for me it makes sense to give the body a chance to let them go with these longer more intense stretches.
Secondly, because each pose is held for at least 3 minutes it challenges our mental discipline and forces us to slow down.
When I achieve this, I feel the stress melt away and my mind reach a state of peace. You can’t beat it and like anything in life, the more you do it the easier it becomes.
Restorative yoga is a restful, sleepy style of yoga.
As the name suggests, restorative yoga brings the body into a state of deep healing or ‘restoration’. It does this by enabling our body to move into the rest and repair nervous system as opposed to our fight and flight mode.
To help the body achieve this the practice uses a lot of props. These props support the body completely. There is no active work in restorative yoga.
Every pose encourages deep rest and relaxation and is held for a minimum of 5 minutes. This helps the body’s healing mechanism kick in.
Again, like yin yoga, restorative yoga is a practice for the mind.
If you are anything like me and find it hard to rest and do nothing for a while, this style of yoga is going to test you!
It is, however, a good opportunity to play with watching the breath in different ways to help you anchor the mind and stay in the present moment.
I love yoga Nidra. It is the perfect restful practice for an active mind!
Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation translated as ‘yogic sleep.”
It is usually practised lying down.
I love that you are guided all the way through and taken on a journey between the state of wakefulness and sleep.
Your body and mind can find a natural state of stillness, quiet and rest. If we don’t fall asleep (which can sometimes happen), we fall into an innate state of deep, blissful awareness.
Yoga Nidra is a very healing practice. You will feel rested, calm, centred and completely at peace with the world afterwards.
This is the true power of yoga – to reach that state where you are truly content and at ease.
Yoga Nidra can be as short as 15 minutes. If you have time for a 60-90 minute session you are in for a beautiful healing and self-rejuvenating experience.
So, I hope you found my ramblings on yoga for rest inciteful. If you fancy experiencing a more restful yoga practice why not try my monthly rest and renew yoga class?
You can book a place using this link.