I LOVE to rest…
I crave time every day to be still and nourish my system by offering her some time to just be.
This wasn’t always the case though.
I once thought taking a nap was a huge waste of precious time, and slowing down was not an option.
I longed to fill each moment with ‘stuff’ and to suck every last morsel I could out of my waking time.
Oh how things change!
Now, my whole being lovingly whispers to me when I need to stop and reconnect.
And finally I am listening…
So what IS conscious rest?
For me it is the time we take away from the busyness before we move into exhaustion.
It is the simple act of resting the whole system each day (even if only in some small way) so that we avoid the roller coaster ride of feeling vital and energised one minute only to then crash and burn the next.
The crucial part is cultivating a daily routine - one where you create spaciousness to soften into the stillness and peace, even if all you have are a few minutes.
Of course it is imperative to rest and nurture when you feel totally depleted, but consciously resting every day helps to keep the reservoirs full for the times when they are most needed.
Conditioning, busyness, disconnection, old ideas and thought patterns – all get in the way of our ability to listen to our inner voice and take time out to slow the pace.
Fear of missing out, feeling lazy and time poor, or not prioritising our needs (think being a people pleaser) can also create a block when it comes to giving back.
Rest can be seen as a poor use of time, because:
Who will keep the family unit running smoothly if I don’t?
Who will run the Biz and how will it bring me abundance if I take time out to rest?
What if I miss out on something important?
All these thoughts may run through your mind…and I encourage you to notice them and become aware of any other sensations that arise too.
What your mind insists you need and what your body wisdom knows you need are often not in alignment.
From my own experience I am more inspired, creative, abundant, juicy, full, vital and ready to do what it takes to see my visions come into being when I have allowed myself time to unwind and rest into complete and total relaxation.
So how can we bring the body and mind into collaborating for the higher good (by that I mean your needs!) when we are battling against a host of external obstacles - real or imagined??
Today I want to share a beautiful practise that first came to my attention 5 years ago but only truly became a part of my daily rituals about 3 years ago and the benefits have been profound.
It is a practise that allows my whole system to feel held, supported and revitalised whilst also creating some space for me to reconnect and listen.
Let me introduce you to Constructive Rest Pose!
SO WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CONSTRUCTIVE REST?
For those of you who love getting the in-depth lowdown:
+ It helps to restore the length of your spine by letting your back and neck muscles release into their natural resting curves.
+It allows for your intervertebral discs (the soft cushions between your neck and back bones which absorb shock) to re-hydrate to their optimum thickness (this too lets your spine get back to its resting length).
+ It passively releases the psoas muscle, a chronically overused and tight muscle at the front of the thigh that can cause all sorts of issues from lower back pain through to anxiety and digestive disorders - to name just a few!
+ It allows your breathing to return to an easy, natural and well-functioning state.
+ It helps to soothe the nervous system, clears and centres your mind and brings you back in touch with the present moment.
+ It can help to decrease stress and relieve anxiety.
+ It can help to relieve chronic pain in the physical body.
+ It helps you to become better aware of your habits of tension.
+ It puts you into a state of calm alertness.
+ It helps with fatigue by revitalising the whole system.
WHO'S IT FOR?
Seriously, this pose has a reach that is wide!
Did you read the list of benefits?!
If you sit all day, stand all day, doing ANY movement repetitively, drive a lot, suffer from chronic pain, stress, anxiety, fatigue, digestive issues, nervous system disorders, sleep problems, back pain etc etc!
The list goes on...this truly is a 'one stop shop' practise for just about ANYTHING!
HOW TO PRACTISE
+ Find a place on the floor to set up - preferably on a carpeted area or use blankets to create a comfortable place to rest for at least 5-10 minutes.
Have another folded blanket close by on the floor.
+ Come to lie on the back with the feet on the floor and the knees bent. Ensure that the feet, knees and hips are all in alignment ( see the picture of me above).
+ Play around with the placement of the feet - you don't want them so far away that they start to slide out, but equally they aren't right up against the buttocks either.
Ideally you want to get a sense that the legs are holding themselves up (I like to think of the lower and upper leg bones like 2 playing cards leaning against each other - effortlessly when in the right position)
+ Once you have found the right spot with the legs, start to become aware of the rest of the body.
If the neck is feeling uncomfortable a folded blanket or towel can be placed underneath for support.
+ Connect in with the breath and slowly begin to explore all the sensations that are arising.
Feel where there is tension in the body, notice any emotions or feelings that arise, watch for any associated thoughts or stories.
+ Slowly the body will begin to unwind and the 'relaxation response' - an aspect of the parasympathetic nervous system - will be triggered, soothing the whole system.
Stay with the breath and your experience.
+ If the knees start to shake or feel like they want to drop out to the side then a folded blanket can be placed on top to help contain them and facilitate the deep psoas release we are desiring.
+ Stay for as long as it feels good, a minimum of 5 minutes though to really glean the benefits.
Give it a try every day for the next week - even if just for 5 minutes - and notice how you feel physically, emotionally and mentally.
I think you will be amazed at the depth of your experience...
So darling one...
When was the last time you took time out to soothe and nurture before you felt exhausted?
What does conscious rest look like for you?
I’d love to hear the beautiful ways you give back and find time to rest each day so let me know in the comments below.
Here's to conscious rest and reconnection!