Updated: Oct 4, 2021
When did you last pause, even just for 2 minutes? No scrolling, podcast, movie, child, pet, food, drink... "But I am too busy"
"Parenting is a 24hr job and my baby / toddler / child never stops"
"My career is so demanding"
"It's too hard to stop"
There are always so many reasons why not. I am all too familiar at self-sabotage when avoiding the hard stuff too. It is human nature after all.
But what if, by regularly practicing conscious rest of body and mind - i.e. sitting or laying, resting in comfort, perhaps eyes closed but awake, (we might call it meditation, but this word can feel heavy with expectation) - we could gain fresh perspectives, self-awareness, and become more patient within our daily life?
Worth a shot, right?
No matter how full our day is, if we are very, very honest with ourselves, there are always a few minutes to pause. If we allow ourselves.
If this is new to you, perhaps begin with sitting quietly for 1 minute.... and then 2.... maybe 3.....? That's great too. Sit or lay in any position that feels supportive and available for you. There's a quiet alertness that comes from sitting in a chair or on the floor, but laying is good too. When we rest with intention, take time to settle, to let go and let be, we also practice down regulating our nervous system. In restorative yoga - slow, supported, close to the ground - and meditation, which both result in a slower breath cycle, we shift from a sympathetic nervous system state, known as 'fight, flight or freeze', (which we might be familiar with as our stress response) to our parasympathetic nervous system state ('rest and digest') - our more easeful, calm, regenerative natural state of being.
"Invite yourself to experience the ocean of stillness that always lives at the centre of your being" ~ Judith Hanson Lasater
Our brain takes cue's from our body, and visa versa, so when our body is intentionally slowing /calming down, our brain gets that message too. The more we practice slowing down our internal state, or as yoga teacher Judith Hanson Lasater says, the more we experience our inner 'ocean of stillness', the more this state of being ripples out into our day too.
Yoga, meditation and all bodywork practices are called just that, because when we show up, we 'practice' these tools, time and again, and allow our cells to learn, or re-learn. As ever, learning takes time, but what a beautiful humbling practice it is, to look after our Self, with awareness, care and respect, every day.
"Yoga is not about touching your toes, its about what we learn on the way down" Judith Hanson Lasater
If you would like a little support and guidance for you to explore your practice of rest, join Carolyn monthly, via Zoom, for a deeper dive into the slow lane. Let's practice together.
P.S. Movement is just as vital to our wellbeing as stillness. We can rest in movement too. But I'll save that for another day.