Active rest as a path to healing
Deep Rest meditation and healing dialogue and how it helps you feel better.
At the beginning of July 2022 I had my fourth yoga therapy training week and that week included a 4-day Rest & Revitalize Sleep Meditation training. A fusion of different yoga nidra methods transformed into RRSM in a more feminine way, by Anne Douglas. A fantastic in-depth training in which everything was welcome. Where some nidra schools, as any school of yoga, can be a very strict and without much space for creativity, the opposite was true here. Nothing was rigid, we were allowed to bring in our own ideas and there was a lot of contact and practice with fellow students.
Ultimately, you can only share and teach that which you yourself feel, experience and live. When, in my experience, the embodiment piece is missing, especially in this kind of work, you might as well not do it.
The beauty of sleep meditation, which I now call Deep Rest meditation, is that you lie or sit comfortably and quietly travel through your body. It’s totally okay if you fall asleep, because that’s what your body needs the most in that moment. The sub-conscience also always picks something up from the practice. So you don’t have to resist anything.
All the koshas (bodies; physical, energetic, emotional, thinking and bliss) can be visited, depending on where the teacher guides you. In that journey, all these bodies can come to rest and in this rest the nervous system can completely calm down too.
Our nervous system plays a major roll in holding tension in our bodies.
As long as the nervous system remains overstimulated and constantly activated (chronic tension, pain, anxiety attacks, chronic high blood pressure, chronic stress, sleep problems, fatigue and burnout), the body will not let go. With regard to releasing tension and relieving pain, strengthening parts of your body doesn’t tend to work. Adding tension only makes it more tense. Which does not mean that running, fitness, boxing or whatever is a bad idea. But if you want to make long-term changes in your body, from a place of relaxation, something has to calm down at the nervous system level. There needs to be an experience of safety to be able to let go of old patterns that once served you, but do not serve you anymore.
Regarding anxiety, stress and sleep problems, it is also necessary to have the nervous system calm down. As long as it remains chronically overactive, there is no sense of safety. The body cannot switch to maintenance mode, which includes rest and relaxation, and recover.
Explore for yourself how deep rest meditation can help you unwind, calm you down and how you can gain new insights into yourself by trying this practice with the online video I’ve created.
Healing dialogue; a conversation with your feelings or thoughts
In addition to the Sleep Meditation, we also worked with the Healing Dialogue. Here you enter into a ‘conversation’ with a discomfort, sensation, thought or emotion that you are experiencing. Bringing your attention to what you are experiencing and what happens next.
Sometimes not so much happens, as I experienced in 1 session, because I mentally decided what I wanted to work on, and that didn’t work. And sometimes, like in another session, where I felt my body and the sensations that emerged, I was brought back to my frightened 8-year old version that felt herself disappear into space around her. Staying completely with those sensations and being able to share it was a special experience. To feel the fear that was there then, change into an experience where that sensation of fear slowly dissolved.
The experience of how everything changes in the moment when you bring your attention to it. How movement enters into thought, emotion, sensation. The un-winding.
The healing effect of active rest,
has become even clearer to me. How we not only work with muscles and fascia, but how we bring the nervous system back into balance so that our entire system can function more optimally. That is what Rest & Revitalize Sleep Meditation does.
Every first Wednesday of the month from 16.45-17.45 CET, I share an online sleep meditation class. You can sign up below!