Relaxation | Yoga Nidra
When we're anxious, exhausted or feeling down, it helps to rest and relax as deeply as possible.
Yoga Nidra helps us ease into a deep state of relaxed well-being. It helps our nervous system shift our biological stress response (fight, flight, freeze, collapse), into relaxation response (ventral vagal).
We can practice Yoga Nidra whilst sitting or lying down and being systematically guided to release each part of our body. Gradually, a comforting heaviness and sense of calm develops. This is the first stage of relaxation.
We are guided to breath in a way that allows natural, full respiration - enhancing relaxation and revitalising our energy. As breathing deepens and slows, we feel an inner stillness - the second stage of relaxation.
As we progressively melt into deeper levels of relaxation, we begin to experience an effortless, spacious, presence. This can become our 'new normal'.
Yoga Nidra is a powerful practice on its own, and a wonderful preliminary to meditation.
Mindfulness | Compassion
Often we automatically react to situations, thoughts and emotions, by trying to control or block them. Sometimes, we don't notice our mind is scattered - 'nobody's home'.
Mindfulness is the foundation of all meditation practices. Mindfulness helps our scattered, non-stop chattering mind settle into a state of peaceful presence.
We can practice mindfulness while sitting, walking or lying down, while we rest our attention with a support, such as our body, sounds, breath, or even thoughts. When we notice we're distracted, we try returning our attention towards our support, gently training ourselves in becoming aware and relaxed in any situation.
Compassion meditation helps sooth our body, mind and emotions, whilst developing a sense of safety, love and connection.
Of the many compassion practices, loving-kindness meditation helps us cultivate unconditional acceptance, beginning with ourself. We train in developing an open, accepting and spacious attitude towards ourselves, and slowly expand our heart towards others.