My Secret Self-Care Weapon
Those of you who know me know that I am a big cheerleader of self-care. I tell my pregnant clients over and over again, “Self-care is the foundation of motherhood.” I try to get them into regular self-care practices before they cross the threshold of birth and welcome their babies into their arms because I know that particularly in those early postpartum days and weeks, it goes out the window. We get swallowed whole by motherhood and might not emerge to take a breath for a good minute. So I plant the seed and ideally, the practice, during pregnancy.
Self-care can take many forms, but ultimately it is about extending the care that you give to others-- your children, your partner, your friends--to yourself. It could mean eating healthy foods, getting more sleep, exercising, having tea with a friend, getting a massage, or even just taking a shower!
Today I want to share one of my favorite self-care practices with you, which I will be offering in my upcoming workshops and programs. I discovered this practice back in 2013 and it has changed my life.
Not only is it deeply nourishing, restorative, and healing, it is also transformational. It’s purpose: to awaken the infinite potential that is dormant inside of you.
And the best part of all?
All it requires you to do is lay down and DO NOTHING. What pregnant woman or new mom doesn’t want an excuse to lie down and do nothing??? I know I didn’t need to be asked twice!
So what’s my secret weapon?
Yoga nidra is a sleep-based meditation technique that awakens the deep, deep stillness of what is asleep within you.
Great, sounds cool but what does that actually mean?
Think about the world we are living in for a moment. We are a culture of over-thinking and over-doing. We are always on the go. Our calendars are full or over-booked. We reside inside of a constant assault of information, opinions, and communication via social media, electronic messaging in its many forms, and old-school methods like the phone. While all of these avenues can and have been a positive force, they also take their toll on our minds and bodies. Why? Because our nervous system is not designed to be in a constant state of stimulation.
Like the cycles of the moon, of the seasons, and of day and night, we are meant to have moments of down-time, of non-doing in order to recalibrate our system, to balance the sympathetic (ON) and parasympathetic (OFF) parts of our nervous system. If our switch is perpetually “ON”, which has become the cultural norm, the result is an increase in stress hormones, a loss of quality of life, and feelings of exhaustion, depletion, and anxiety, which eventually leads to physical illness.
Yoga nidra is an opportunity to shift our switch into the “OFF” position. It decreases stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, and increases feel good hormones like dopamine and serotonin. It brings complete relaxation to the body and stills the mind.
Yoga nidra moves us into a sleep state CONSCIOUSLY.
This means we move into the brain waves that are a part of deep sleep (theta and delta) but we are actually awake. Within that comes the opportunity to release old, negative thought patterns and touch the depth of our souls in a way that ignites our creativity, our inspiration, our joy.
So why is it especially great for pregnant women and mothers? When I discovered yoga nidra I was pregnant with my second daughter. Being a big fan of naps I was elated to discover a meditation technique with so many benefits to my well-being (I’ve only scratched the surface in this post) that required me to do nothing other than lie down and be still. And even if I didn’t have enough time to have a proper nap (for me this means 2 hours!) I could lay down for 20 minutes and emerge feeling deeply restored.
Yoga nidra helps mothers reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and sleep better. Think about what that would mean for our world! It helps pregnant moms move from fear to freedom as they prepare for birth and motherhood, and it gives all moms more confidence and access to intuition.
But enough talk about it, I want you to have an experience of it! All you need is a quiet place to lie down.
Are you ready to lie down and do nothing?
If so, click the link below and follow the guided meditation. I will be offering more information and opportunities to experience yoga nidra in my upcoming workshops, so stay tuned...