…which I’m especially thankful for during this universally busier time of year. Extra time for holiday planning, shopping, and gatherings can often mean less rest and frazzled nerves. What better time to change focus and dedicate this month’s blogging challenge to rest, sleep, and even hibernation.
Changing Focus Blogging Challenge
Rest, Sleep, and Hibernation
Interpret this challenge however and in whatever format you prefer. How do you get enough rest? How do you handle sleep challenges? Do you have photos/narrative and/or audio to share on winter hibernation or dormancy? How do you regenerate?
Surely, everyone can use a little extra help in the sleep department, and especially in the coming month. Tag your response as Changing Focus blogging challenge and link it to a comment on this post or via pingback.
Similar to Scotland, my northeast climate offers few days of full sun. Once November hits and then winter arrives it’s mostly cold and grey for the next four months.
And while I don’t necessarily look forward to Winter (I can take the bitter cold if the sun is shining) I’ve also grown to appreciate this natural period of hibernation. After all, this is when Mother Nature rests, trees unwind, and seeds go deep into the dark to regenerate for Spring. Animals also have an innate sense of getting rest whenever and wherever they need it.
“Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama
Regenerating through Sleep
Sleep is critical to regenerate, rebuild and repair. And while my sleep has not been optimal for many years, I do what I can. Whenever I have one of those toss/turn nights when I just can’t seem to get (or stay) asleep, my life saver is yoga nidra. This Godsend came to me about 15 years ago in a Svaroopa yoga class.
12 Benefits of Yoga Nidra
Neuro-psychology indicates yogic sleep has a positive effect on our brain, body and the entire physiology and psychology. It:
- Resets the nervous system
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Helps regulate blood sugar
- Brings mental clarity
- Calms thoughts
- Improves concentration
- Helps with PTSD
- Improves memory
- Boosts dopamine
- Improves learning ability
- Positively affects creativity
- Improves quality of actual sleep
Sleep without Sleeping
Far superior to ordinary sleep, the ancient technique of yoga nidra powerfully rejuvenates the entire body, mind and nervous system through restful, deep relaxation. Often called yogic sleep, it induces states of mind that are between being asleep and being awake. A short session can feel as restful as a full night’s deep sleep. So the next time you think you are too busy to rest, try yoga nidra for a quick reset.
Others have recorded various versions of yoga nidra but the one I like best is the first one I heard: Experience Yoga Nidra: Guided Deep Relaxation by Swami Janakananda. He offers equally effective short and longer versions.
Swami’s voice can be challenging at first but I always, always find that even if I had only a few hours of actual sleep he puts me into a deeply restorative state and I arise feeling refreshed and without any brain fog. Unlike pharmaceutical sleep aids, yoga nidra is not toxic or habit forming. It is a gift you can give yourself over and over again.
In the meantime, here’s some other photos around that restful state…
“Rest and self care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” — Eleanor Brownn
Put the gift of sleep on your holiday list so you can rest and (everyone will) be thankful
All images by Write Gardener