“And I said to my body, softly, ‘I want to be your friend‘, it took a long breath and replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.” ~ Nayyirah Waheed
Most of us live day to day on autopilot. We wake up, make breakfast, maybe do a quick workout, start work, eat lunch, finish work, have dinner, have a couple of hours of downtime, then go to bed, and start again. Those with families will cram even more into a day!
Have you ever taken even a minuscule moment to check in with yourself when going about your day-to-day routine?
Embodiment can mean different things to different people. My view is that when we are in complete connection with our mind, body, and soul, and able to maintain this connection even when being put under stress and pressure from external forces, we are embodied.
As humans, we are 100% capable of living an embodied life. In fact, we are born embodied. You only have to look at a new-born baby and see how it breathes deep, long, and slow, will cry when its body requires something and poops whenever the body needs to. It is only the outside elements and influences that human beings are faced with as we grow that make us focus more on the mind and its thousands of thoughts per day (many of which I’m guessing are not necessary for us to live our daily lives).
Here are a few small ways to regain an embodied life:
- Pay attention to your body prompts. When your stomach makes a noise notice if its hunger or maybe in need of some hydration. If your eyes start to strain whilst scrolling through Instagram, maybe they need a break from technology. Your body knows what you need and will show you the signs.
- Notice your emotions. How does it feel when you’ve had a conversation with someone? Next time you have a conversation with a friend, partner, child, boss or colleague check in with how your body is responding to it. If your stomach tightens and your heart rate quickens, these might be signs of anxiety and our body’s ‘fight or flight’ response being activated. By noticing these signals, you will be able to utilize embodiment tools to respond in a different way.
- Practice being present, grounded, and focused on the here and now. Start simply by noticing your breath as it goes in and out of your nostrils. Yoga Nidra Meditation is the gift of presence, and with that gift, we emerge feeling rested, alert, and with fresh awareness.
- Eat and drink mindfully. Ask yourself the question ‘what does my body really want and need right now?’ Listen for the answer. You might think you want a large bar of chocolate or a double espresso but does your body really want it?
Consciously move. A great way to connect your mind with your body is to move consciously. This involves bringing complete awareness to your entire being using slow and deliberate movements and allowing it to become your guide. By doing so you are able to focus on the needs of your mind, body, and soul. Walking, Pilates, and Yoga are examples of conscious movement. Or why not come along to one of my Shake & Release sessions held regularly at Miracles Dubai?
Click here for more information about the facilitator Amy Pope
Picture this, your friend asks you to join them in going to a Yoga Nidra class. What’s your initial reaction? Do you say, “but it’s only for bedtime!” or “Ooh great I haven’t done any yoga in ages”? There are a number of misconceptions around the practice of Yoga Nidra, so let’s bust the “myths” around it.
1.“It’s a yoga class”. Yes, the name “yoga” features in the title, but don’t let this fool you. This is definitely not a fitness class. Yoga in Sanskrit means “union”. And the practice of Yoga Nidra is exactly that, a union of the mind, body, and soul. There might be some small movements, stretches, and breathing exercises that help to gently guide us into the practice, particularly if our mind needs calming after a hectic day, but you won’t find any downward dogs in this class.
2. “It’s only a sleep aid”. Type “Yoga Nidra” into YouTube and you will see tons of recordings, as this guided meditation is often used as a tool for inducing sleep. Nidra even means “sleep” in Sanskrit! With Yoga Nidra, you are guided into the state of consciousness between being awake and asleep, and it is in this state where the magic happens, and we become more present and aware. Also, it has been said that around 30-60 minutes of Yoga Nidra is the same as having 4 hours of sleep! A deep practice can make you feel re-energized, motivated, and focused. Research shows that Yoga Nidra can not only improve sleep but also helps reduce stress and anxiety and increase the quality of life and wellbeing.
3. “It’s just another meditation”. Most meditations are practiced in a seated position and the aim is to quieten the mind. In Yoga Nidra, we lie down in a comfortable position, with additional tools such as pillows, bolsters, and eye-masks for extra coziness. Yoga Nidra is an amazing personal growth tool. At the beginning of the practice, we set an intention that is a specific and positive statement. This can be anything from “I have everything inside of me to manifest happiness” to “I am on the road to achieving my goals”. This intention is kept at the forefront of our minds throughout the practice and taken with us into our daily lives.
4. “It’s always relaxing”. During a Yoga Nidra class we are taken on a journey of complete relaxation, and whilst on the journey, we go deep inside of ourselves, which can stir up memories and bring about strong emotions. These might not always be comfortable to sit with. Your job is to simply be the observer of these thoughts, emotions, memories, feelings, and sensations. It is up to you what, if anything, you want to focus on. Yoga Nidra can be a very useful emotional self-regulation tool.
5. “It’s a quick fix”. After having an “aha” moment in one class, it is easy to assume that the Yoga Nidra has done its job. However, in order to see the work really pay off, it needs to be practiced on a regular basis. Each experience can bring about new perspectives and a deeper connection with yourself. It also gives us an opportunity to feel completely relaxed. Who wouldn’t want to experience that regularly!
If you’d like to experience Yoga Nidra check out our events page for listings.
Click here for more information about the facilitator Amy Pope