Did you notice the Exploring Peace Meditations podcast offering more and more Yoga Nidra practices as the year went along? That's because you kept asking for more! And, I heard you when you said you were amazed that it brought so much peace into your body. I've been studying and practicing Yoga Nidra more in this past year and I'm glad to hear your response to the practice. My body and mind love Yoga Nidra and my spirit loves offering it in ways that help me (and your) connect with our Creator.
What is Yoga Nidra? Also known as yogic sleep, this conscious relaxation and meditation practice offers space for your body and your mind to unwind. It feels good all over! Clearly, this is an oversimplified definition but it's the best way I know to explain the practice...until you have practiced it for yourself!
When I shared that this practice would be a bonus in our online advent retreat, I had multiple messages from those of you who were concerned you didn't know how to practice Yoga Nidra. Here's the great thing... You don't have to be able to know anything about it, you simply need to have a willingness to listen and relax!
Yoga Nidra is often practiced in a reclined resting position (think savasana pose in yoga) but can be practiced sitting up as well. It's a form of meditation, body awareness, and true relaxation. Richard Miller (yoga teacher, author, researcher, and psychologist) teaches that "in yoga nidra, we restore our body, senses, and mind to their natural function and awaken a seventh sense that allows us to feel wholeness, tranquility, and well-being."
It's a practice that has helped me connect body, mind, and spirit and I hope you find it helps you too.
Have you practiced Yoga Nidra?
Ready to unwind? Click here or listen below.
Advent is a time of waiting, a time of preparation for Christmas. Let's be honest, waiting is tough right now but this kind of waiting is expectant and exciting. This kind of waiting is pondering the arrival of the one who came as a gift for YOU and the one who gifted you with your body and breath. There is always much to prepare for Christmas - food, decorations, packages. But what if the gift God longs to prepare most is YOU?
This year is different in so many ways. And Christmas can be different for you too, in the best way. What if this Christmas you prepared yourself? What if you made space for your body and your spirit? What if instead of being last on the list, you heard God's nudge and placed yourself at the top of the list? After all, if you care for yourself well you're better able to care for others well too. And, in this season, loving others and ourselves needs to make the top of the list!
How do you prepare for Christmas? What are your favorite ways to get ready? Don't worry, I'll still be decking the halls but I'll also be practicing lectio divina, centering prayer and yoga nidra too! Curious? Want to join me in community? Click here to register or learn more about this online advent retreat experience (nope, you don't have to be on social media to participate, one less distraction, yay!).
Are you ready for Christmas?
How is it already October? What has become of this year's vision board and goal plan? For me, not much. It is the year of PIVOT! And while it's been tough, I'm finding many silver linings in this invitation and focus shift. Amidst that shifting, I do know I'm hearing this quote from Augustine and a very familiar verse, loud and clear.
"Thou has made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee." - Augustine of Hippo
“Be still, and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10
Do you have any stillness or rest in your day? Or, does stillness only find you when you crash in the chair at the end of the day after being all things to all people?
Or, does rest evade your mind because although your body is still, you rarely choose to stop scrolling or turn off the news? Do you collapse at the end of a day feeling tired, alone, or even unworthy of being still in God's presence? Are you restless?
This restless pondering and verse aren't simply about being still, are they? Nope. There is so much more than stillness in this invitation.
We might want to take note of something pretty important in the verse. The word "and" in the sentence. The scripture doesn't just ask us to be still, it asks us to be still AND know. What do we need to know?
If you keep reading, verse 11 tells us that “The Lord Almighty is with us.” We aren’t simply told to be still (I was told that in church as a little girl plenty, that's not the same as this). We’re told to be still and know that God is with us. Augustine reminds us God wants us to not only rest but to rest IN GOD. Amidst stress, overwhelm, injustice, worry, changed plans, and pivoting dreams, rest in God.
God gives us the ability to do more than just stop worrying or running. God gives us the ability to rest in God and be reminded how much God cares for each of us, especially amidst restless times like these.
Today, I invite you to find stillness somewhere in your day AND in that stillness of knowing God is with you.
Know that God is your comfort.
Know that God is your peace.
Know that your Creator longs for you to rest in thee.
Reflect: How am I reminded that God is with me? What is causing me restlessness (get specific, consider journaling or praying through these specifics)? When was the last time I experienced stillness and rest WITH God? Where and when can I rest today AND be reminded of God's presence in my life?
Action: Let's not choose to be restless in this season, let's choose to rest in God. Need a little help? Press play below and drift off to sleep in God's presence tonight.
Whitney R. Simpson
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Whitney R. Simpson,
Exploring Peace Ministries, LLC