- Randal Williams -
You’re not alone. We live in a culture that turns us away from our bodies and away from actively listening to our intuition and understanding our needs. All too often, we ignore those needs at the expense of our well-being.
Most of us are living our lives at breakneck speed. Not only are we working more than ever before, we drink caffeine, skip meals, go to cross fit (nothing against cross fit!), over-commit ourselves, and prioritize productivity at the expense of rest.
Many of us aren't sleeping well because our nervous systems are so heightened. Even our down-time often involves screens that are overstimulating to our sensitive biorhythms that help induce rest and sleep. The more we do, the less time we feel like we have, and because of this, time seems to fly by faster than ever before.
Life might not feel like the thriving state of vitality that it's meant to be, actually it may feel more like a hamster wheel of exhaustion.....
I’m here to tell you there’s another way.
I'm here to tell you that yoga nidra has been a huge part of my regular practice and self care regimen that helped me go from a person with debilitating panic attacks, constant anxiety & insomnia to a person who is content, full of gratitude, and calm, cool and collected most of the time... at least in comparison to before! It's like night and day. The quality of my life has skyrocketed.
You can think of yoga nidra as a yoga for the central nervous system, so powerful I’d say that it’s like hygiene for the nervous system and the mind. It is a powerful and effortless meditation technique (the word nidra means “sleep”) that has the power to shift everything in your life from my personal experience.
The simplicity of the practice harnesses the power of your most vital resource - your nervous system and your MIND.
Ally Boothroyd is a yoga educator and meditation teacher with a passion for yoga nidra and the healing power of conscious rest. Over the years, she has helped hundreds of people to calm, balance and restore their nervous systems. She teaches tools for reversing exhaustion, stress and overwhelm and helps people reconnect to their sensitive biorhythms and the natural world. She is the founder of Sarovara Yoga, a yoga space and women's retreat centre in Ontario, Canada. A sanctuary on the water where she fosters local community and supports health, personal growth, emotional resiliancy, authenticity, awareness, and awakening. Ally is dedicated to inspiring depth, creativity, and joy by sharing the most potent tools from a variety of yogic traditions. She brings an openhearted, inclusive view to her teachings, which are a rich blend of Kripalu Yoga along with Classical Hatha Tantra, Yoga Psychology, Yoga Nidra, Integrative Restoration, Amrita Living Yoga, Energy Medicine, and Ancient Avalonion Priestess Ritual & Ceremony. Ally's path has been one of healing and relief from anxiety, panic attacks and insomnia through the ancient science of yoga, particularly yoga nidra. She studies and teaches the full 8 limbed path of this potent practice and she weaves in a systematic method of complete relaxation, holistically addressing physiological, neurological, and subconscious needs leaving practioners feeling resting and rejuvenated. She believes that we must have a vareity of tools that sooth and unwind the nervous system which is the foundation of the body’s well-being. Her life's work is to help people to connect to, restore and renew all levels of their being.
- Richard Miller -
The Importance of Deep Rest
Taking a moment now and then to practice yoga nidra could do wonders for your day-to-day life. It will recharge your ability to deal with your commitments, your relationships and your overall health and wellbeing with MORE vitality and energy. It’s a worthwhile investment of time, because the efficiency of a well-rested mind will make every area of your life more productive and joyful.
Did you know? Studies show that sleep and rest are essential building blocks of the body and mind; you learn better if you take a nap after studying and retain more information long term. You become physically stronger more quickly if you periodise your training (taking rest days/"easy" weeks), you become more emotionally resilient, compassionate and balanced when your cortisol levels aren't through the roof!
Pushing your body into overdrive can manifest physically in many ways - through tight neck and shoulders, digestive malfunctions such as gas, bloating, acid reflux, or a constant feeling of exhaustion paired with an over-active mind that tends toward negative thoughts and worrying. Not fun!
Neglecting deep rest can wreak hormonal havoc in your body as cortisol and adrenalin are being pumped through the blood, over the long term these hormones cause your body to go into adrenal exhaustion/fatigue and an overall hormonal imbalance that can lead to some nasty complications! Think depression, weight gain, estrogen dominance, insulin resistance (stress directly impacts your blood sugar levels), chronic fatigue and fertility issues. And of course, this will all accelerate the ageing process! Yikes.
When we don't priortize rest, over time, we create the worst version of our own selves – stressed, tired, mentally slow and physically vulnerable - susceptible to disease. No thank you!
It's time to start treating conscious rest the same way we treat work or family commitments, because it is ESSENTIAL to our life.
Your body works so hard for you all day every day; it's time to give it some time to replenish. You wouldn’t leave your car to run without a service! You recharge your phone when the battery is low. It's time to truly treat our nervous systems with the same respect that we do for our possessions. Seriously, let's get our priorities straight here!
When you take the time to practice Yoga Nidra, you are allowing your body on a cellular level to recharge itself. When you do, you will actually find that you are more present and have more energy for your children, partner and greater clarity of mind to perform at work and to get through the day without feeling overwhelmed.
Ready to start your Yoga Nidra practice? I'm excited!!! Let's do this!!!
When Should I Pracitce Yoga Nidra?
- New Mom? Practice any time your baby is sleeping!
- Busy Entrepreneur? Take a Yoga Nidra break when you hit your "slump" in the day and see your productivity and energy levels increase!
- Don't have any time to practice? Listen to your Yoga Nidra as you're falling asleep at night.
How do I Pracitce Yoga Nidra?
Set up your Yoga Nidra space by placing a bolster or some pillows behind your knees for support. You can practice in the comfort of your own bed or on a thick yoga mat on the ground, the couch, the choice is yours! Where ever you can get most comfortable.
You can also make a Nidra "recliner" by placing a bolster lengthwise on your mat and slipping a block under the top end, so that the bolster slants gently. Lie down with your sitting bones on the mat and with the bolster supporting you from the low back to the head. Place a folded blanket under your head for a pillow.
Which ever position you end up in, use as many props to help get you comfortable as possible. A blanket over the body. Perhaps an eye mask or eye pillow to block out the light.
Really take your time to set the physical body up for completely comfort, so that you can lay in stillness for the next 45 minutes. (of course if the urge is strong to move the body because of discomfort, you can come into another position like fetal postition or you can even practice sitting up in a supported position)
There is no way to practice Yoga Nidra incorrectly. As you lie down, supported in savasana, all you have to do is follow the voice that is guiding you. It's likely that you will remember certain parts of the meditation and not others. Every time you come to the practice you encounter a new experience—none of which is wrong. Falling asleep is okay too, as you will still receive benefits while the unconscious mind is absorbing the practice. If you fall asleep, trust that this is exactly what your body and nervous system need.
As you settle into stillness, notice and welcome sounds, smells, and taste as well as color and light that might arise in the darkness. Release excess tension throughout your body and feel a sense of relaxation spreading throughout your entire body and mind. Again, there is no wrong way to do Yoga Nidra, simply invite yourself to listen to the sound of my voice with feeling and your complete attention.