Yoga Nidra (or Yogic Sleep) is becoming an increasingly popular practice with many studios now offering dedicated classes that create the atmosphere for an unrushed and nourishing experience - especially useful for the stressed and overworked city dwellers!
What Yoga Nidra actually is and how the classes are structured varies depending on who you ask and where you go. In general there are two approaches however, the first uses Yoga Nidra as a way to progressively relax, kind of like a form of guided meditation. The second, and perhaps the more tradition approach, believes Yoga Nidra to be a particular state of consciousness in which the mind (with all its unconscious components) is able to enter a state of total rest. Many influential teachers have been quoted saying that minutes in this state can be equal to hours of sleep - it's deeply restorative as well as rejuvenating.
The end of a yoga class is usually spent in complete relaxation in order to allow the body to digest and process the practice undertaken so that it can begin to repair and come back just a little stronger. I’ve heard many teachers say that it’s the most important part of class and I’d tend to agree – not just for the physical benefits but the mental ones too. It would be entirely counterproductive to rush back into the real world after class without taking at least a couple of minutes for stillness or reflection. This way, that peaceful after class feeling has a chance to be taken into the rest of the day too.
This complete relaxation, or Savasana as it’s referred to in Sanskrit, can of course be spent in silence (which has the potential to be very powerful) but music could also be considered to assist those especially active wandering minds in focusing their thoughts.
Last week I had the pleasure of listening to a talk by the much beloved Marianne Williamson and I’m so glad I made the time to attend. Situated in the beautiful St James Church near Piccadilly Circus in London, it ended up being a very magical evening in a very special setting and I walked away with such strong inspiration I feel compelled to share the experience.
I’m actually not one for attending motivational talks but some of Marianne’s work has caught my eye and I was drawn to find out what the un-specifically titled time slot with her could potentially entail and so I purchased my ticket and avidly looked forward to the event. She ended up covering a lot of ground and the talk was mostly centered around current world events with lots of references to ‘A Course in Miracles’ (as I expected) but there was two specific points made that stuck with me so much that I’m still finding myself thinking about them a week later.
When this year first started I thought about what I wanted to accomplish within it and one of the first things that came up was doing something big for charity. After much research, a particular event called out to me and I felt drawn to join in.
I’m so excited to announce that I will be going on a two-week trek across the terrain of the island of Madagascar in Africa in support of the charity WaterAid this November! The journey will include a summit of the island's highest accessible mountain peak (Pic Boby at 2658 meters) and will cover about 70km of ground in total. It will be challenging, but an adventure of a lifetime and I'm so glad I’ll be able to raise funds for such an important cause along the way.
Most yoga classes last an hour and include people from many walks of life, all with different abilities and backgrounds. This makes it challenging for the teacher to ensure everyone is able to follow and for the students to keep up without compromising on the quality of their practice. The teachers should, of course, be on hand to guide the students through the sequence but it’s not likely that they’ll get to cover every relevant alignment cue, breathing technique and modification in such a short amount of time. Thankfully, however, there are several universal principles we could utilize to ensure that we get the most out of our mat each time we practice.
Our most popular websites in the West include social media, online shops, mainstream news, and celebrity gossip. All serve their purpose and some can even make our lives easier on occasion but I know that in the past I’ve had times where I found myself mindlessly scrolling through feeds looking for something worthwhile to capture my attention without much avail. Thankfully, I’ve since discovered a whole new world of constantly expanding high quality content designed around healthy and mindful living that can actually add value to my life.
Well&Good – Years ago, I used to be an avid follower of the NYC edition of the online portal but they now have a universal version that is amazing. Definitely targeted towards women, it includes articles on physical wellbeing, skincare and fitness to name a few. My favorite series is the ‘Refrigerator Lookbook’ where you can peek inside fridges of people from the wellbeing industry.
Christmas is fast approaching and alongside it often comes a frenzy of shopping and social events which can leave us feeling worn out and generally uninspired. This is unfortunate because this time of year has the potential to be truly magical; it’s when we can cosy up with a paperback book we haven’t had a chance to get to and of course, it’s also when we get the chance to spend quality, uninterrupted time with our friends and family.
Taking a step back and being aware of what is happening around us rather than getting caught up within it, will help create those priceless memories instead of maybe cultivating something not wholly positive. And generating this awareness can be really simple and quick; just finding a few minutes for yourself and then making a couple of better choices each day can be all it takes to have a happy and memorable day.
I recently wrote an article outlining some practical ways which could be used to improve day to day interactions and generally connect with others on a higher, more mindful level. The guidance is simple and includes tips such as tuning into your own inner compass of intuition and compassion.
"5 Psychologist-Approved Tips For Connecting With Anyone:
1. Assume Nothing. It’s so easy to jump to conclusions when things don’t work out as planned, but, truthfully, we have no idea what happens beyond our own experience. An assumption can never be accurate because we simply don’t know the full circumstances of any given situation..."