Could you be missing this one critical ingredient of wellness?
I’ve experimented with many weird and wonderful things on the path to wellness; green smoothies, Chakra balancing, strange breathing practises and perhaps the most obscure - a salt water cleanse during a retreat in India. I don’t recommend it.
Surprisingly, the biggest game changer for my wellbeing is simple, accessible and easy to do. It's the practice of Active Rest. I’m not talking about an 8 hour Netflix binge kind of rest, I’m talking total sensory withdrawal (or Pratyahara in Sanskrit). No TV, music or distractions – just you, your breath and your body.
The practice of Active Rest or Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) is an ancient practice now backed by science where the mind is active but the body is asleep. A guided relaxation, it combines body sensing, breath awareness and visualisation to help you enter the deeply relaxed state between awake and asleep. Nothing has yielded greater results for my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
When we engage in this kind of sensory withdrawal the body shifts from the sympathetic state of fight, flight, freeze (where most of us spend our time) to the parasympathetic state of rest, digest and heal.
I try to practise daily for at least 20 minutes but if I’m especially busy or overwhelmed, I extend it to an hour or more. It’s counter-intuitive but the busier we are, the more we need to slow down and rest.
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