We Dare You to Rest This Holiday Season

    —
November 20, 2017

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.

Karen Brody

Also By Author

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 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. 

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.

Recommended Reads on Restoration

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.

You Might Also Enjoy

Sound Healing & Meditation: How Vocal Toning Can ...

Have you ever sat down to meditate and found it nearly impossible to relax and find the stillness you were hoping for?  There’s a little known sound healing secret that may just help you to overcome the initial restlessness when starting your practice.

The secret can actually be found in the opposite of silence, by using the sound of your voice and vocal toning to ground yourself, calm your nervous system, and clear your mind. 

How Sound Deepens the Silence

Chanting, mantra, and vocal toning have long been practiced in tandem with silent sitting meditation by both ancient and modern yogis and buddhists.  You may have experienced this yourself in a yoga class meditation that starts with three AUM’s.  There are different reasons why various types of voice are incorporated into the practice, but when it comes to preparing for silence, knowing this one concept can make all the difference.  

When we begin a practice by filling our bodies and our meditation environment with sound, whether that be our own voice, the sound of a singing bowl, gong, harmonium, or other instrument, it creates contrast with silence when the sound is gone.  There is a big difference in how we experience silence when the silence is preceded by sound, and once the sound is taken away, the silence can be experienced much more deeply.  

Peace Is A Stable Consistent Vibration

The foundational practice here is to use your own voice to create a stable consistent vibration within your body.  By repeatedly toning a vowel sound such as Eh, Ah, Oh, Uh, or AUM, on the same note, your body and mind will automatically begin to relax and become more calm and focused.  The vagus nerve, which runs through your neck, is right next to your vocal chords, and the effect of the voice on nervous system regulation is well studied.  

Vocal toning and humming increases nitric oxide, which can reduce blood pressure, slow the heart rate, and slow brain wave speeds from high functioning beta to slower meditative states of alpha, theta, delta.  You can even literally sing yourself to sleep (I know because I’ve done this myself by accident while toning!)

Singing IS Breathwork – Breathing IS Sound Healing  

Sound healing is not just about audible frequencies, but also about rhythms and the frequency of rhythms within the body.  The breath is one of the most fundamental rhythms we can access for reducing stress and restoring peace within the body.  

It is well known that extending an exhale longer than the length of the inhale will slow down the heart rate and calm the nervous system.  When we’re singing, toning, humming, and extending the length of that sound, we are essentially extending the length of the exhale to be longer than the inhale.  

This is why singing IS breathwork taken to the next level with the sound of your voice.  While it may seem a bit awkward at first, your body LOVES the sound of your own voice, and you can nourish your body in profound ways using the gift of this internal instrument.

How to Practice Vocal Toning Before Meditation

Go ahead and get into your meditative position, whether sitting or laying down.  For best results, I recommend at least 3-5 minutes of toning or humming to really give yourself time to get lost in the sound.  

  1. Using your voice, find a note that feels comfortable in the moment.  This will likely be a lower note in your normal speaking range, or maybe even slightly lower than your normal speaking voice.  It should be a note that doesn’t create any strain or tension in your voice, and can allow you to relax while maintaining the pitch.  
  2. Find a vowel sound that feels good to you.  For the most grounding and calming effect use Ah, Oh, Uh, or a combination of all three such as AUM (Ah, Oh, Um).  For more “clearing effect” EE, and Eh sounds can be effective for releasing stuck and negative thoughts or emotions.  Humming with the mouth closed is also a very effective method that can be thought of as singing down into your own body by keeping the sound inside rather than projecting it out.  
  3. At the beginning of each cycle of toning, take a long deep breath through the nose to receive as much breath as you can, and then begin to let the sound emerge from your voice in a slow and controlled manner.  Try to extend the length of your sound by releasing only enough breath to create the sound.  You may find that after a few rounds of toning you are able to take in more breath and extend your sound for longer periods of time.  
  4. If you feel any self-consciousness, awkwardness, embarrassment coming up, this is totally normal, even for experienced singers!  Let it be an opportunity for letting go of any self-judgment and try to stick with the practice.  You will find that these feelings will soon go away and will be replaced with feelings of peace and even the experience of timelessness.
  5. See if you can feel the subtle vibrations traveling through your body.  You will likely find that you can feel the sound traveling all the way to your toes, fingers, the hair on your head, various parts of your skin.  Just notice where the sound is traveling.
  6. To take things even deeper, bring in the emotions/intentions of gratitude or love and visualize those positive feelings riding on the sound waves from your voice to every cell of your body, filling yourself with beautiful vibrations.  
  7. Practice for 3-5 minutes or however long feels most comfortable to you, and when you are ready, let your final sounds dissipate into silence.  Continue to breathe normally and take notice of how much deeper the silence now feels.  You may continue your silent meditation practice from there for however long you desire.

Finding Your Homenote and Balancing Energy with the Voice

If you’re enjoying the use of your voice for stress relief and for starting your meditation practice, there are ways to get even more intentional with the voice.  We have the amazing ability to clear energetic blockages, restore balance to energetic deficiencies, and return to a state of peace using our own voices.  You can learn more on my website 1:11 Sound Healing.  

Nicholas Penn

Nicholas Penn, 1:11 Sound Healing

Nicholas Penn is a life-long musician, producer, and sound therapist with a certification in Sound Healing through Globe Sound Healing Institute.  Nicholas is passionate about educating and empowering individuals to access the gift of their own voice to restore peace and improve wellness for themselves and loved ones.  He is also a producer for Sounds True and leads strategy and content creation for the Sounds True YouTube channel and Eckhart Tolle Spotify Channel.  Learn more at 111soundhealing.com   

Lynne Twist: Finding Fulfillment in a Purpose Larger t...

At a time when many of us are feeling hopeless, angry, or cynical, how can we reclaim our joy and choose to see possibility instead? How can we change what we tell ourselves about our lives and our world? In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with author and activist Lynne Twist about her new book, Living a Committed Life, and discovering the role we each must play to usher in a new era for humanity. 

Tune in for an inspiring discussion of strengthening your “possibility muscle”; the power of disruption; the breakthroughs hidden in the breakdowns; choosing to tell a new story; the relationship between pain and joy; the willingness to be “proximate to suffering”; grief as medicine; the origins of the Pachamama (Mother Earth) Alliance; why everyone has a role to play in the healing of our world; finding your calling and answering the question “What breaks your heart?”; envisioning a new kind of human being, a new kind of humanity; and more.

This episode first aired live and on video on Sounds True One. To watch Insights at the Edge episodes live and on video, and to access additional bonus Q&A, please visit join.soundstrue.com to learn more.

Jules Blaine Davis: Meet the Kitchen Healer

For eons, women have gathered around the place of cooking—the fire, the hearth, the kitchen—to share wisdom and nourish each other through love and compassion and yes, food. In her new book, The Kitchen Healer: The Journey to Becoming You, Jules Blaine Davis celebrates the ways we nourish our bodies, hearts, and spirits in this cherished place. In our podcast, Tami Simon and Jules discuss how the kitchen gives us the opportunity to pause, grieve, and replenish—and to rewrite our stories over and over again. In true loving-healer fashion, Jules talks about our deep hunger to connect with each other in what has become “a cultureless culture,” and how the kitchen provides that essential space for reuniting with our longing, our joy, and each other. 

She shares her thoughts on the practice of simply being with our problems instead of fixing them, and how powerful it is to just give yourself an abundance of permission. Her joy and compassion radiate throughout this conversation, as does the promise of discovery through healing. Says Jules, “When we’re in the practice of healing, there’s no graduating from healing. We’re just unfolding. We’re unraveling. We’re becoming who we are over and over again in all the different beautiful places in our lives.”

  • Kadee says:

    I was so interested in reading this article but immediately felt excluded when you wrote “people that have a lot of decisions to make, like mothers”. Wow. While I am not taking anything away from the mothering experience it is also not the only space and place in life that requires making a ton of decisions. You can be single and taking care of parents, single and working 3 jobs to survive, single and the head of a multi million dollar company and required to make a ton of decisions that will cost you your representation and your career. A minority, a person with a disability….the list goes on and on. Please stop limits big decision to moms. We all are carrying our own burdens and weights even if we made CONSCIENCE decisions to not reproduce.

  • >
    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap