Guest post by Wendy Reynolds, feel free to connect with her on Facebook.
I recently returned from a blissful time-out from technology – a break to fully immerse myself in silence and meditation/yoga nidra. Like so many before me, I was amazed by how quickly the desire to swipe the screen dissolved, and for one who loves to talk, the comfort blanket of silence was an embrace I had not anticipated.
On returning to the hubbub of the airport I was reluctant to switch on my devices, and delayed the inevitable for two more deliciously decadent days at home, just reconnecting with my husband, with the land, and with the space we are so lucky to call home.
Yoga nidra is simply the most impactful yoga I have experienced, not only personally, but in the way it reaffirmed my professional doctoral journey as I explore yoga’s subtle effects on practitioners’ lives. Technically, yoga nidra is a guided meditation. I am trained in iRest® and their website is a wealth of knowledge.
As I pondered a PhD in yoga, a path that I have traveled for two years now (not including a year of dreaming about it!), it was my husband who held out the permission slip to jump on to this rocking and rolling ship that is a doctorate. When I questioned if I should pursue this labour of love, his simple answer was “if not you, then who?”.
With that one bold statement I realised the meaning of following your dharma, in the sense that it might be a difficult choice calling your attention, but once that dharmic finger is tapping on your shoulder and has your ear, you’ve pretty much got two choices. You can either turn a blind eye and risk regretting taking the so-called easier route later down the line, or you can take that leap of faith with no expectations of where the path chosen may lead you.
In my case, the path has led to doctoral research titled “Yoga as a health-management tool: The flow-on effect of yoga to physical health, psychological wellbeing and positive health behaviours.”
And so to embracing the still side, a thought that arose as I contemplated returning from retreat with the realisation that meditation/yoga nidra had refueled my dharmic tank.
When you can retreat to the stillness, you get the chance to remember what it means to have presence, and this in turn can empower you to find that sweet spot amidst the craziness of life, where you can truly focus your attention on whatever task is at hand.
By applying attention little and often, we build that attentional muscle, the focus and clarity of mind to be able to fully engage, and not miss those ‘little things’ that can go unseen. It’s the moments where we are still enough to be present that we remember. A smile; the way the sunset catches the crest of a wave; the end of an exhale in a yoga pose where you sense a subtle release not felt before; the pause to rest that is greeted by an answer to a question you have been musing on for a day or two.
It doesn’t have to be yoga nidra. It can be a walk barefoot on the beach, or a slowly sipped coffee in your favourite chair staring into space (yes, I love these too!). In the midst of this fast-paced, tech-driven world we live in, do take time to be.
Take time to savour the quieter side of life. Take time to find the stillness that refuels your tank.
Connect with Wendy on LinkedIn.
Wendy has recently moved over the Haywards to the Kapiti coast, and is relishing the beach lifestyle.
She combines her yoga doctoral studies with acupuncture clinics at two physiotherapy practices (in Raumati Beach and Silverstream) specializing in musculoskeletal injury and pain management. Wendy’s yoga teaching passion has evolved towards slow mindful movement and restorative stretches. Slow flow/vinyasa offers the chance to build strength and fluidity, whilst yin yoga and yoga nidra/meditation provide a space to restore both body and mind.
Wendy likes to focus on the simple techniques of body and breath sensing, to engage attention on the felt sense of being in the body whilst accessing the parasympathetic (rest and digest) mode of the nervous system.
If the still side of yoga is calling you, meditation classes and private sessions will be available from June 2017 in Raumati Beach.