Two nights ago, I dreamt I was headed to Rio to represent the U.S. in a new Olympic event: Meditation.
Clearly, my subconscious mind has a sense of humor. It gently pointed out that even meditation is something I secretly strive to do well at (and even win a medal for my efforts).
Maybe that effort is actually getting in the way. That's why I'm intrigued by a meditation practice called Yoga Nidra, which takes the effort out of the equation. Here to tell you more about it is a talented therapist, life coach, and meditation teacher, Cassandra Carlopio. Get ready to recharge!
Unplug and Reboot
by Cassandra Carlopio
“Almost anything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” - Anne Lamont
The power of deep rest is something many of us intuitively understand, yet rarely engage. This is not surprising, given how our current culture strongly values productivity over being, and achievement over stillness. By not actively inviting rest into our lives, we are depriving ourselves of a precious resource, one that is available to us anytime, any place.
Each of us has within us an innate sense of wellbeing, a deep well of ease that can restore, heal, inspire, and enliven us. The way into this well is through deep relaxation and rest.
Yoga Nidra, also known as ‘yogic sleep’, is a practice that supports this journey inward, and one I adore sharing with people. Yoga Nidra is a meditative approach to deep relaxation and accessing this innate sense of wellbeing that supports people to ease into that place that exists between wakefulness and sleep. This deeply restful state allows our over-stimulated nervous system to release and our energy to be restored. Like pressing the reset button on our body and mind. Or rebooting the computer.
How often do we allow our selves to unplug…and I mean really unplug? Even if we have a strong meditation practice, often it is coming from a place of ‘doing something’. Counting breaths, repeating a mantra, sitting still and quiet for 10 minutes until the timer goes off…. or even striving to obtain a state of inner peace or equanimity. While these are all valuable attention-training skills and should be practiced, there can be a subtle flavor of striving or needing to achieve something with meditation. If we are not attentive to our intention behind our practice, meditation can become another thing we cross off our perpetual to-do list.
But there is a profound shift we can make, just by understanding the intention behind our inquiry into our selves and carving out time in our day, even if it is five minutes, to simply be and rest. No need to count or equalize breaths, no need to repeat a mantra, or even sit upright and alert. Just simply rest.
If you want to dive in, here's a sample yoga nidra meditation led by one of my teachers.
So when you feel tired, rest.
When you have lost your way, rest.
When you feel like nothing is working, rest.
There is a vast space of ease, rejuvenation, and creative inspiration that is waiting for you. There is a state of wellbeing that is yearning to recharge you. All you have to do is rest.
Cassandra Carlopio is a meditation teacher, yoga nidra practitioner, and life coach who lives and runs workshops in the Los Angeles area. Originally from Byron Bay Australia, Cassandra combines her extensive postgraduate training in clinical psychology with her deep understanding of the somatic process to foster healing and to help people create a life that they love. Cassandra offers community yoga nidra workshops, individual coaching, and meditation for wellness in corporate environments. Get in touch by visiting her website, or get social on Facebook and Instagram.
Get Heart-Shaped Writing delivered to your inbox weekly! Subscribe to Christina McMahon's blog here.