4 Ways to Rest This Holiday Season

    —
December 19, 2019

4 Ways to Rest This Holiday Season

Giving yourself permission to rest during the holiday time is perhaps the most radical—and life-saving—act you can do. Here are a few easy ways to give yourself the gift of rest. Your family and friends will thank you—and might just lie down too!

Meditate Every Morning or Evening

If you have 15-minutes, try practicing yoga nidra meditation, a guided meditation also known as yogic sleep. This is supreme relaxation. You can find yoga nidra online. If you don’t have that kind of time, silent meditation for even just 3 minutes every day can feel restful. Close your eyes, and notice your breath. You can repeat a mantra or a relaxing word as you breathe in and out. If family is visiting and you don’t have a quiet spot in the house, meditate in your car or even in the bathroom!

Breath Counting

We tend to forget just how restful it can feel to breathe. Breath counting pulls the mind away from stress and towards a more centered, balanced feeling. To practice, count backwards slowly, with rhythmic inhalations and exhalations, and say to yourself as you breathe, “Breathing in, 11, breathing out, 11, breathing in, 10, breathing out, 10.” And so on, counting down to one. You do this while breathing the whole body or engage a chakra and breathe into that area. Befriend the breath.

Walking Meditation (extra points for bare feet!)

If you’re stressed over the holidays, walk in silence on the ground for five minutes or more. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Walk as if your feet are kissing the earth.” Walking bare-footed is ideal—outside or in your home. More and more evidence suggests that we need the Earth’s electrons for our well-being—it improves sleep, pain management, and stress. If you can’t walk in silence, try cooking your holiday meal mindfully in bare feet, Your body will thank you.

Watch the Sun Set or Rise

Sunrise and sunset are mystical times of the day. Busy lives don’t easily give us access to the soul. During sunset and sunrise the veils of illusions, which pull us away from our truest self, are thin. We can see ourselves more clearly and feel more intuitive and creative. If you can, watch the sun set or rise in silence. Your nervous system will thank you.

 Karen Brody is a women’s well-being and leadership expert who helps women journey from worn out to well rested and then dream big in their work and lives. A certified yoga nidra instructor, she is the author of Daring to Rest: Reclaim Your Power with Yoga Nidra Rest Meditation, founder of Daring to Rest, a yoga nidra-based self-empowerment program for women. She has an MA in Women and International Development from the Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands, and a BA in sociology from Vassar. Karen is also a playwright, and Birth, her theater-for-social-change play has been seen in over 75 cities around the world. She is the mother of two boys and met her husband in the Peace Corps. She resides in Washington, DC, but considers the world her home.

The community here at Sounds True wishes you a lovely holiday season! We are happy to collaborate with some of our Sounds True authors to offer you wisdom and practices as we move into this time together; please enjoy this blog series for your holiday season. 

To help encourage you and your loved ones to explore new possibilities this holiday season, we’re offering 40% off nearly all of our programs, books, and courses sitewide. May you find the wisdom to light your way. Use promo code HOLIDAY10 and receive an additional 10% off your order.

EXPLORE NOW

 

Shamini Jain PhD

Shamini Jain PhD

Shamini Jain, PhD, is the founder and CEO of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative (CHI), a nonprofit collaborative that leads humanity to heal ourselves. Dr. Jain is an Ivy League-trained clinical psychologist and an award-winning research scientist in psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) and integrative medicine. She is a sought-after speaker and teacher in mind-body-spirit healing. Dr. Jain is also adjunct faculty at UC San Diego. For more, visit shaminijain.com.

Karen Brody

Also By Author

4 Ways to Rest This Holiday Season

4 Ways to Rest This Holiday Season

Giving yourself permission to rest during the holiday time is perhaps the most radical—and life-saving—act you can do. Here are a few easy ways to give yourself the gift of rest. Your family and friends will thank you—and might just lie down too!

Meditate Every Morning or Evening

If you have 15-minutes, try practicing yoga nidra meditation, a guided meditation also known as yogic sleep. This is supreme relaxation. You can find yoga nidra online. If you don’t have that kind of time, silent meditation for even just 3 minutes every day can feel restful. Close your eyes, and notice your breath. You can repeat a mantra or a relaxing word as you breathe in and out. If family is visiting and you don’t have a quiet spot in the house, meditate in your car or even in the bathroom!

Breath Counting

We tend to forget just how restful it can feel to breathe. Breath counting pulls the mind away from stress and towards a more centered, balanced feeling. To practice, count backwards slowly, with rhythmic inhalations and exhalations, and say to yourself as you breathe, “Breathing in, 11, breathing out, 11, breathing in, 10, breathing out, 10.” And so on, counting down to one. You do this while breathing the whole body or engage a chakra and breathe into that area. Befriend the breath.

Walking Meditation (extra points for bare feet!)

If you’re stressed over the holidays, walk in silence on the ground for five minutes or more. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Walk as if your feet are kissing the earth.” Walking bare-footed is ideal—outside or in your home. More and more evidence suggests that we need the Earth’s electrons for our well-being—it improves sleep, pain management, and stress. If you can’t walk in silence, try cooking your holiday meal mindfully in bare feet, Your body will thank you.

Watch the Sun Set or Rise

Sunrise and sunset are mystical times of the day. Busy lives don’t easily give us access to the soul. During sunset and sunrise the veils of illusions, which pull us away from our truest self, are thin. We can see ourselves more clearly and feel more intuitive and creative. If you can, watch the sun set or rise in silence. Your nervous system will thank you.

 Karen Brody is a women’s well-being and leadership expert who helps women journey from worn out to well rested and then dream big in their work and lives. A certified yoga nidra instructor, she is the author of Daring to Rest: Reclaim Your Power with Yoga Nidra Rest Meditation, founder of Daring to Rest, a yoga nidra-based self-empowerment program for women. She has an MA in Women and International Development from the Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands, and a BA in sociology from Vassar. Karen is also a playwright, and Birth, her theater-for-social-change play has been seen in over 75 cities around the world. She is the mother of two boys and met her husband in the Peace Corps. She resides in Washington, DC, but considers the world her home.

The community here at Sounds True wishes you a lovely holiday season! We are happy to collaborate with some of our Sounds True authors to offer you wisdom and practices as we move into this time together; please enjoy this blog series for your holiday season. 

To help encourage you and your loved ones to explore new possibilities this holiday season, we’re offering 40% off nearly all of our programs, books, and courses sitewide. May you find the wisdom to light your way. Use promo code HOLIDAY10 and receive an additional 10% off your order.

EXPLORE NOW

 

We Dare You to Rest This Holiday Season

When to say “No” & “Yes”

One of the most exhausting stress loops for women starts with saying “yes” when we feel “no”. Becoming your most authentic self is the first step to learning what a “no” and a “yes” feel like in your body. We often tell women to say no more, but equally as troublesome is that we also don’t feel and then follow our yeses.

Here’s a quick way to practice sensing what “yes” and “no” feel like to you:

  1. Put your hand on your heart and gut.
  2. Place your attention at the space between your eyebrows (your third eye).
  3. Inhale from the space between your eyebrows to the base of your spine, while mentally saying “Sooooo.” Then exhale from the base of your spine to the space between your eyebrows while mentally saying the sound, “Hummmmm.” Repeat twice more.
  4. Be still as you rest your attention on your third eye for 20 to 30 seconds.
  5. Call up a question you want an answer to, and see if you feel a “yes” or “no.”

For women who have lots of decisions to make, like mothers, I often suggest making a list of all the things stressing them out, and then, on the same day every week, doing this practice, seeing if they get a “yes” or “no” for each item on the list. This is also a great practice to do weekly when you’re pregnant, because giving birth centered in your true self, knowing your “yes” and “no,” is the best gift you can give your baby.

Using this practice to help make decisions will help you stop overdoing. You begin with feeling, drop your ego, and then, from your true nature, make decisions that end the worn-out feeling. Beware of mistaking things you love to do as a “yes.” For example, many of the creative moms I work with love to cook, but when they use this practice to ask whether they want to stay up cooking cupcakes late at night for their children’s school when they have work the next day, the answer they get might well be “no.”

Sometimes you may be faced with a difficult “no”: your inner wisdom will tell you that saying “no” to something will liberate time, but saying “no” may not feel good right away or may disappoint someone. If this happens, I encourage you to say “no” anyway. If you want to feel well-rested, you need to make the choice that supports your wholeness.

 

Love Yourself First

Most of us have heard flight attendants on an airplane say, “Put your own oxygen mask on first, and then secure your loved one’s.” This is an important message that well-rested women get in every bone of their bodies: love yourself first. The first thing your loved ones need is a healthy you. Here are two ways to do that.

 

  • Give Kindness
    • When you’re spinning in mental loops and stressed out, it’s hard to be kind to yourself or others. But as I always say after yoga nidra, I feel like I drank a cup of kindness. To capitalize on and reinforce this feeling, repeat this loving-kindness meditation.
      • Say to yourself:
        • May I be happy.
        • May I be safe.
        • May I be free of physical pain and suffering.
        • May I be able to recognize and touch harmony and joy in myself.
        • May I nourish wholesome seeds in myself.
        • May I be healthy, peaceful, and strong.

Notice how you feel in your body. When you’re ready, you can move on to saying the words for others: May (name of a loved one) be happy. May (he/she) be safe.

 

  • Go on Wonder Dates
    • Schedule quiet time for yourself. My friend and colleague Jeffrey Davis, of Tracking Wonder, a creative branding company, loves to say, “Wonder is not kid’s stuff. It’s radical grown-up stuff.” That’s right, taking time for wonder is an essential multi-vitamin for adults, too. It helps clear your mind and relax the body.
    • What’s wonder? It’s a time to be curious, to not know something. It’s the gratitude and amazement we feel when we see a shooting star or a beautiful full moon. Try finding a quiet space to read poetry, or sitting in a tree and then journaling about what you see and how it makes you feel. Many spots in nature call up wonder. Wonder sparks ideas, so the more time you spend in wonder, the juicer you will feel when you return to your everyday life.
    • And if you think you don’t have time, think again. Jeffrey has two little girls, and as he says, he “sculpts time” for wonder by intentionally planning space to wonder into his calendar.

 

Looking for more great reads?

 

 

Excerpted from Daring to Rest, by Karen Brody.

Karen Brody is a speaker and the founder of Bold Tranquility, a company offering yoga nidra meditation for the modern women via downloadable products and workshops. Her work has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, and she’s a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. She’s also a critically acclaimed playwright. Karen had a long personal history of severe panic attacks until she found yoga nidra meditation over a decade ago. At that time, she was a sleep-deprived mother of two small children on anti-anxiety medication. She signed up for a yoga nidra meditation class simply looking to lie down for a nap. What she got was “the best nap of her life.” As she continued to practice yoga nidra regularly, her deep fatigue lifted; she wrote a critically acclaimed play, got off anti-anxiety pills, and started to teach this yoga nidra “power nap” to every exhausted mother she knew.

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Embark on the Journey to Restoration

 

Daring to Rest by Karen Brody 

What if you could reboot your health, tap into your creative self, reclaim your wild nature, lead from your heart—and still feel well rested?

As modern women, we’re taught that we can do it all, have it all, and be it all. While this freedom is beautiful, it’s also exhausting. Being a “worn-out woman” is now so common that we think feeling tired all the time is normal. According to Karen Brody, feeling this exhausted is not normal—and it’s holding us back. In Daring to Rest, Brody comes to the rescue with a 40-day program to help you reclaim rest and access your most powerful, authentic self through yoga nidra, a meditative practice that guides you into one of the deepest states of relaxation imaginable.

It’s time to lie down and begin the journey to waking up.

 

 

 

 

Sabbath by Wayne Muller

The Sacred Rhythm of the Sabbath and How to Restore It in Your Own Life

Toward the end of his life, Thomas Merton warned of a “pervasive form of contemporary violence” that is unique to our times: overwork and overactivity. In his work as a minister and caregiver, Wayne Muller has observed the effects of this violence on our communities, our families, and our people. On Sabbath, he responds to this escalating “war on our spirits,” and guides us to a sanctuary open to everyone.

Muller immerses us in the sacred tradition of the shabbat (the day of rest) a tradition, Muller says, that is all but forgotten in an age where consumption, speed, and productivity have become the most valued human commodities. Inviting us to drink from this “fountain of rest and delight,” he offers practices and exercises that reflect the sabbath as recognized in Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism. Through this way of nourishment and repose, Muller teaches, we welcome insights and blessings that arise only with stillness and time.

Rich with meditations, poems, and inspiring true stories, Sabbath asks us to remember this most simple and gracious of all spiritual practices.

 

 

iRest Meditation by Richard Miller, PhD

A Proven Meditation Program for Profound Relaxation and Healing

Deep rest and relaxation are critical elements in healing—yet we rarely experience truly profound rest. Even with proper exercise and sleep, we continue to hold stress, tension, and trauma in the body. Over the past 45 years, Dr. Richard Miller has developed a program for deep relaxation, healing, and rejuvenation called iRest (Integrative Restoration). In iRest Meditation, he offers a complete training in this proven method, which is being used by the military to treat PTSD and has been shown through research to reduce depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain—as well as improve sleep, resiliency and well-being.

Based on a modern evolution of the ancient practice of Yoga Nidra, the easy-to-learn iRest program provides a flexible toolbox of meditation practices that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to carry you through adversity. In these six audio sessions, Dr. Miller takes you step-by-step through a progressive series of guided exercises for managing stress utilizing the breath and body, decoding and balancing your emotional state, connecting you with deep inner resources that replenish your vital energy and sustain you regardless of your circumstances.

 

Recovering Joy by Kevin Griffin

Addiction recovery requires a serious commitment, yet that doesn’t mean it has to be a bleak, never-ending struggle. “Recovering takes us through many difficult steps of discipline, humility, and self-realization,” says Kevin Griffin. “In doing so, many of us forget that we are capable and deserving of basic happiness.” With Recovering Joy, Kevin Griffin fills in what is often the missing piece in addiction recovery programs: how to regain our ability to live happier lives. Whether you’re in recovery or know someone who is, this book is a resource of valuable guidance and self-reflection practices for:

  • Rediscovering a sense of purpose and our own value through our work, relationships, and contribution to the world
  • Developing personal integrity by living up to our own moral and ethical beliefs
  • Using our intelligence and creativity to their fullest extent—at work and at home
  • Cultivating a rich inner life that includes a sense of connection—whether expressed in our spirituality, our interactions with others, or our relationship to the natural world
  • Bringing an element of fun into our lives—learning to embrace our own sense of humor as a resource for healing

 

The Force of Kindness by Sharon Salzberg

Distill the great spiritual teachings from around the world down to their most basic principles, and one thread emerges to unite them all: kindness. In The Force of KindnessSharon Salzberg, one of the nation’s most respected Buddhist authors and meditation teachers, offers practical instruction on how we can cultivate this essential trait within ourselves.

Through her stories, teachings, and guided meditations, Sharon Salzberg takes readers on an exploration of what kindness truly means and the simple steps to realize its effects immediately. She reveals that kindness is not the sweet, naive sentiment that many of us assume it is, but rather an immensely powerful force that can transform individual lives and ripple out, changing and improving relationships, the environment, our communities, and ultimately the world. Readers will learn specific techniques for cultivating forgiveness; turning compassion into action; practicing speech that is truthful, helpful, and loving; and much more.

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Express Your Creativity to Jump-Start Vitality

Have you ever felt like you lost a part of yourself?

Sometimes it happens. Life changes, and we change with it. It could be a move, job change, marriage, kids, taking care of elders, or any sort of transition. Sometimes it’s not even a difficult transition that makes us lose a part of ourselves but a decision we make to keep on with some things and release the rest. And yet, we might regret leaving that part of us behind. Often, the part of ourselves we leave behind is a creative part of ourselves that we might think, in today’s world, is less important or less valued.

This certainly happened to me—for about fifteen years. Basically, I lost my voice. As much as I loved singing, for reasons I could not fully understand, I knew part of my path was to continue in my study of healing. Unfortunately, when I chose graduate school, I also decided there was no point in singing anymore if I was not “serious.” Not only did I relinquish my opportunity to prepare for a professional career in classical western opera singing—I simply stopped singing altogether. And by making that black-and-white decision, based more in perfectionism than in feeding my heart and soul, I lost a huge part of myself for more than fifteen years. Singing was a gift I was given to bring me back to my own creative bliss—but I had been blind to its purpose for most of my life. And a part of me literally felt like I had died.

I’ll bet many of you can relate. External circumstances seem to shift the tides of our lives so that sometimes we lose parts of ourselves society doesn’t necessarily directly reward. If we enjoyed art, dance, music, or other areas of creative expression when we were young, unless we pursued these passions as professional artists, we might have lost sight of them over the years. We often think we have to leave creative pursuits behind in our process of “adulting”—making money, providing for a family, and pursuing a career. However, losing that creative juice comes with real costs—we can end up losing our ability to innovate, our fluidity, and a great deal of our joy.

Thankfully, our creativity is never really lost. In my case, I found the joy of singing again spontaneously while singing to my kids when they were young. When they got a bit older, I decided to reclaim the fun of singing for myself. Out of the blue, I created a Guns N’ Roses cover band called Nuns N Moses. I searched for musicians and convinced them (all straight males) to dress as nuns while I dressed as Moses for part of the show, changing lyrics and singing songs from Moses’s perspective. It was hilarious fun while paying homage to one of my favorite childhood rock ‘n’ roll bands with excellent musicians. Soon after, I was asked to front an Iron Maiden tribute band called Up the Irons. The music was amazing, and the band was a hit, with thousands of fans and a busy gig schedule at the best venues in Southern California. I found myself blissfully singing my heart out—and I had more energy than I ever had in my life.

I share this personal story with you for two reasons. One is to remind you that the parts of you that you think are forgotten actually live on inside of you—particularly the creative parts of you. These are the parts that long for authentic expression, in whatever ways they are able to manifest. They do not die, and when we give them voice, we actually provide healing for ourselves—an ability to bring us to a greater sense of self-awareness, self expression, connection, and ultimately transcendence. The second reason is to challenge you to consider ways you can step out into a more authentic expression of yourself—even if it feels risky to you. The best thing you can do is to break the false idol of yourself. Creative expression gives you the tools to connect with yourself beyond your cultural and social conditioning and to connect with others in true heart and soul expression. Nothing can be more freeing and more healing.

PUTTING CREATIVITY INTO PRACTICE

Fostering Our Flow

How do we begin to jump-start our experience of creativity and its links to flow, improved mood, and vitality to augment our own deeper, more authentic expression of ourselves and our healing? Following is an easy guide:

First, recognize that you are a creative being. The more you identify yourself as a creator, the easier it will be for you to create in different settings, even at work. Even the scientific data suggest this.

Start simple. Remember that no one defines what is creative except you. Is there a particular creative activity that draws you to it? It does not matter whether you have prior experience with

  • It does not need to be a specific art form, either (putting creative outfits together or improvising a meal without a recipe are examples). Pick something easy for you to engage in at least once a week for six weeks, and do something that you can easily fit into your day or week. (Singing in the car or dancing around the house for fifteen minutes a day counts!)

Go beyond judgment. Suspend your and others’ judgment, and move beyond your discomfort. Believe me, I know what it’s like when the kids beg you to stop singing in the car! You will encounter a whole slew of judgmental statements, most of them likely from yourself. As Nike loves to say, “Just Do It.” (In my case, when encountering my children’s complaints, I keep singing, but I do it more softly so as not to irritate their eardrums beyond belief.) When feeling uncomfortable, do it anyway and tap into the bodily, energetic feeling that you have when you are being creative. That will help you break through those negative self-judgments and clear those vrittis, or mind disturbances!

Observe, persist, and enjoy. Notice how you feel after engaging in your creative act. Be your own scientist. Explore how you feel after the first time, and then the second time, and so on. How did the rest of your day go after you allowed yourself some time for creativity? Keep at it, and even try your hand at something new. You might feel more comfortable working with an art form you have learned in the past. However, remember that your goal is not perfection—it is connecting with the energy of creativity. There is something to be said for examining an art form with “beginner’s mind.” Keep honing your creativity by focusing on both things you know and things you don’t know, and see what insights come to you as a result.

 

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The Biofield: The Missing Link Between Healing and Con...

Dr. Shamini Jain is a clinical psychologist, researcher, public speaker, and the founder of the nonprofit Consciousness and Healing Initiative. With Sounds True, she’s released the new book Healing Ourselves: Biofield Science and the Future of Health. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon has a conversation with Shamini about the interconnections between human consciousness, the biological world, and our ability to heal. Shamini explains “the biofield” and how it relates to both our physical and spiritual selves. She and Tami discuss already existing healing modalities that work with the biofield (such as Reiki and qigong), as well as recent scientific discoveries that support and expand those fields. Finally, Tami and Shamini talk about the essential step of surrendering to the healing process, the mystery and potential of the placebo effect, and our fundamental connection to all of life.  

Spiritually Fly

Faith Hunter has nearly 20 years of experience as a yoga and meditation teacher. She is the founder of Embrace Yoga DC and Embrace OM, as well as the creator of Spiritually Fly, a lifestyle philosophy that celebrates our inherent vibrancy and worth. With Sounds True, Faith has written a new book called Spiritually Fly: Wisdom, Meditations, and Yoga to Elevate Your Soul. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Faith about what it means to be Spiritually Fly and how we can all live an authentic, joyful life of spiritual flyhood. They discuss the life-changing effect yoga had on Faith’s life and the courageous way she empowered herself to blend classic yoga lineages with sound, ritual, and African traditions to create a practice that is true to her. And Faith describes the “golden glitter”—the inner brilliance—that lies beneath our fear, shame, and other “demons,” waiting to be released into the world.

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