Karen Brody: Daring to Rest

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October 31, 2017

Karen Brody: Daring to Rest

Karen Brody October 31, 2017

Karen Brody is the founder of the Daring to Rest™ Program for Women, which promotes women’s empowerment and increased health through yoga nidra meditation. With Sounds True, Karen has published Daring to Rest: Reclaim Your Power with Yoga Nidra Rest Meditation. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Karen and Tami Simon have a serious discussion about the epidemic of burnout and exhaustion in modern culture. This is especially true for women, who are often held to the societal expectation that they serve the needs of those around them before they ever consider taking even the most necessary rest. Karen offers yoga nidra as a one part of the solution to this wave of fatigue, describing how her own practice and the cultivation of turiya—”the sleep of the yogis”—helped her move past a period of intense, chronic sleeplessness. Finally, Karen and Tami speak on the liberation in abandoning perfectionism and how yoga nidra can be folded into the course of our daily lives. (64 minutes)

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Meet Your Host: Tami Simon

Founded Sounds True in 1985 as a multimedia publishing house with a mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom. She hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today's leading teachers. Tami lives with her wife, Julie M. Kramer, and their two spoodles, Rasberry and Bula, in Boulder, Colorado.

Photo © Jason Elias

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.

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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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Sam Harris, PhD: Cutting Through to Consciousness With...

How do meditation and mindfulness accelerate moral progress? Is spiritual insight alone sufficient to solve today’s problems? Dr. Sam Harris is a five-time New York Times bestselling author, philosopher, neuroscientist, and host of the popular podcast Making Sense. He is also someone who has practiced meditation for more than 30 years, having studied with teachers in Tibetan, Burmese, Indian, and Western traditions. Here, Tami Simon sits down with Sam Harris for a deep conversation on the nature of consciousness and the implications of spiritual realization. 

Tune in for this “aha moment”–filled podcast exploring: the illusion of the self and the default state of identity; advaita and nonduality; two different types of mystery; the future of AI; psychic phenomena; synchronicity, superstition, and skepticism; a new perspective on how to be happy; the superpower of noticing; tantra; Dzogchen and “the goal as the path”; looking for what is looking; resolving the view; becoming mindful of “the glimpse”; meditating from the neck down; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

Ep 10 Bonus: Callings and Resources

This bonus episode will support you to take the main insights from Episode 10, “We Are the Great Turning,” deeper into your life. 

Jess will guide you through an adaptation of the Work That Reconnects exercise called “Callings and Resources.” In it, you and a friend will take turns interviewing each other. You’ll name a contribution you’d like to make in service of the Great Turning, take inventory of the resources you have and need to achieve your goal, and clarify the small next steps you can take. 

All you’ll need for this bonus exercise is paper and pen, or a digital notes app, and a place where you can get comfortable, share freely, and listen carefully. 

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

How to Mental Stack Your Way to a New Chapter in Life

Most people feel trapped in a thousand ways. But more often than not, this sense of entrapment us into putting our heads down and getting the things we are expected to get done, done. We can’t often see the entrapment, especially if it looks like the result of our own choices in life. But were they truly our own choices? What if some of the choices we made in life have never really been ours to begin with? 

I want to take us back a little. Back to when we were younger. When we had to rely on the wisdom of our elders, and those who have been in this life much longer than us. In my upcoming book Invisible Loss, I write about that time in our lives when we were at our most rebellious:

Disobedience—as a child, as a teen, as an adult in the world of work and home—is an act that creates invisible suffering. We learn to survive that repeated pattern of being commanded by our elders to be “good.” In order to be good and obey, we may create a life closer to that command but further away from our Original Self. We may work hard trying to be good, trying to please and fit into the mold created for us, but that only helps to build our Waiting Room life.

But time in the Waiting Room doesn’t need to last forever. And you don’t have to die inside it. There are parts within you that can bring forth a life worthy of your human existence. Places within yourself that have no shame.

As long as we have been alive, creating a life that aligns closest to the wishes of our caregivers and protectors blinds us to the life that we could choose for ourselves. That life is completely hidden even if we think we know our wishes. Often, only when we go through tragic or invisible losses, do we start to question those choices. Dare I say, these moments are opportunities to exit the loop of being “good.”

It is time to interrupt our regular transmission. It is time to be clear when it comes to what it is we are trying to communicate to the people in our lives. It starts from no longer trying so hard to fit into the mold that was created for us.  No matter how old we are, we can always break outside this mold and align our choices with our true values and desires.

This is not an easy task. I understand that. At the core of my book, Invisible Loss, I’ve created tjos easy practice to help set you on the right path to your Original Self. I call it Mental Stacking:

What Is Mental Stacking?

Mental Stacking is the ability to intentionally layer your thoughts to replace unconscious, Survivor-based

thinking with Wisdom-based thinking. In doing so, these Wisdom-based thoughts can more easily be converted into real-life action. This Stacking practice allows you to access your true and authentic self (your Original Self) and entrust it with the controls of your life. Here is what a basic Stack looks like:

  • The Cleanse: Transcribing the automatic, routine-based, unconscious thoughts. Write them down. Don’t stop writing until you feel you are done. 
  • The Pattern: Subtracting from that first layer the thoughts of fear and doubt. Once you write everything you are feeling and thinking down, read it back to yourself and find a sentence or two that comes from a place of fear or doubt. For example, somewhere in your long cleanse you may find yourself saying: “I feel trapped in my marriage and I don’t dare tell anyone about it because he is the nicest guy. All of my friends always tell me how lucky I am to be married to someone who takes such good care of me.”
  • The Reframe: Writing the consciously reframed thought layer in the Stack. Take that sentence and reframe it. For example: “I feel trapped in my marriage and feel ashamed for feeling this way because my partner is such a good guy,” to, “even though I may feel shame about how I feel, I need to share these feelings with my partner even though it may not be expected or understood. This is my life, after all.” 
  • The Plug-In: Translating the reframed thought into action. Once you have that reframed thought, think of a low-risk action you can take that can stem from that newly scripted thought. For example, you can suggest to your partner to go for dinner at a brand new place where you can bring up what is on your mind in a new environment. You can act on your right to express yourself regardless of what the response might be or how others view your situation. 

Your Mental Stack leads you to a specific next step that may not always be easy to see without the power of each previous layer in the Stack. 

Here’s to a great new chapter ahead,

Christina Ramussen

Invisible Loss


Invisible Loss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Sounds True

Christina Rasmussen is an acclaimed grief educator and the author of Second Firsts and Where Did You Go? She is the founder of the Life Reentry Institute and has helped countless people break out of what she coined the “waiting room” of grief to rebuild their lives through her Life Reentry® Model, a new paradigm of grief, based on the science of neuroplasticity. She lives in Austin, Texas. For more, visit christinarasmussen.com.

Author photo © Marc Olivier Le Blanc

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