Dear Brave Parents,
Here’s a bit about me beyond the bio. Twelve years ago I was walking down the supermarket isle, the first time I did not have a child attached to me in nearly three years, and the aisle began to spin. My first thought was: low blood sugar. I’ll just drink a juice box, which as the mother of two kids under the age of three wasn’t hard to find in my purse.
At that moment in my life it was all about the juice box: if one of my kids was having a “moment” the juice box always seemed to save the day. But that day at the supermarket was different. I drank the juice box and still the aisle was spinning. My heartbeat started racing.
With my husband out of town I called my best friend and thirty minutes later we were in the emergency room. I called the woman looking after my children that morning to say I’d be late picking them up, and then I passed out.
When I woke up and after many tests they told me I had had a panic attack. At that time in my life I was too busy to look at my life, the fact that I had gone three years getting virtually no sleep, so I went on the prescribed anti-anxiety pills and continued life as usual.
A couple of years later I was eying a yoga studio in my neighborhood. My kids were both now in preschool and I thought I should take a yoga class to get back into shape. When I walked into the yoga studio I noticed a class going on where 25 women were lying down looking totally blissed out listening to a woman lead a guided meditation. I asked the yoga studio owner, what are they doing? She smiled and said, “Yoga nidra.”
From that moment I knew what I needed wasn’t to get just my body into shape; I needed a complete mind, body, spirit awakening. I also wanted to lie down. I so deeply needed a good nap. My kids were napping for years. Now it was time for a nap. So I signed up and I’ve never looked back.
Yoga nidra is a sleep-based meditation technique. Wow – conscious sleep! Woo hoo! Within a year I was off the anti-anxiety medication. A year later I had written a play about childbirth. And today yoga nidra meditation is a cornerstone in both my companies, The BOLD Method for Birth and Bold Tranquility. Why? Well, the answer really goes back to that juice box.
Remember how I was losing power in the supermarket and reached for the juice box and nothing happen? I didn’t feel better. Well now I know better. Now I know where the real juice box lies and it’s not in my purse. It’s in me. That’s what yoga nidra has given me. And that’s what I want for you. Yoga nidra is deep much-needed rest on a busy day and even more it’s really a surrender to the truth of who you are, your deep calling, that journey you knew you’re meant to be on since you were a little girl.
Today I’m a yoga nidra cheerleader because I know it works. It doesn’t make life perfect. I still get tired some days and over-do-it on others. Instead the practice of yoga nidra gives you permission to chuck perfect, throw off those chains, and live your life for the better, enjoy your parenting, and remember that joy is your birthright.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you. Here we go!
The Well-Rested Parent: Surrendering to the Call, Chucking Perfect and Awakening Your Vital Force
By Karen Brody
I want you to answer this question by raising your hand: are you exhausted? If you raised your hand, keep reading. If you didn’t raise your hand, keep reading, you may be in for a surprise.
Parenting today is exhausting. Our child needs us, their school emails us all the time, then there’s work, keeping up on social media or going on the learning curve to understand keeping our kids safe on social media. Life is full and often there’s a high level of this feeling of overwhelm in the modern parent.
Ironically we spend so much time tending to our child’s needs, and making sure they get enough rest and as they get older helping them find their calling, that suddenly we can’t find ours or we know it but we’re too exhausted to follow it. The call keeps knocking on our door – whether it’s a book we know we must write or a friendship we need to end – but we resist the call. We say “yes” and “no” so many times without taking a breath that we’ve lost that connection to our deep knowing.
Parenting today is so exhausting we often are left thinking: I want my brain back. But in reality, to truly surrender to one’s calling we need our heart back. We need to take back feeling.
And that’s where yoga nidra meditation can help. If you’re exhausted and feel unable to take that first step towards the life you desire, yoga nidra is your “home girl.”
Yoga nidra is a sleep-based meditation technique where all you have to do is lie down, do nothing, and be guided. It’s easy to do and activates the relaxation response in your body allowing your nervous system to balance. It turns your life force back on using a combination of breathwork, body sensation, affirmations, and pairing opposites.
Yoga nidra takes you from the crazy-busy time bound state of consciousness that we live in every day to a delicious timeless state of being. It’s catnip for the busy modern parent. Why? Because when have you last been given permission to lie down and do nothing – consciously? When have you been given a moment of stillness, for your body to deeply restore and a moment to tap into your heart’s deepest desires? Who doesn’t want more of that?
Have you ever noticed in films, and life of course, that hero’s always deny their calling at least once? Very rarely will we wake up in the morning and follow our calling. And this applies even more when you’re exhausted. Fear multiplies when we run from it. Absolutely, we’ve got obstacles in our way. Parents can spend years writing lists of all the obstacles, but have you ever noticed that some parents are on their Hero’s journey despite the obstacles? The reason for this is quite clear: they have surrendered.
Yoga nidra meditation is actually not a solution to your problem. It will not make gold happen in your life. Only you can. Instead, yoga nidra helps lead you to the gold. It helps you surrender to your Hero’s journey by awakening your vital force.
Awakening Your Vital Force
Your vital force is never asleep within you, but exhaustion can make it feel like it’s gone forever. In yoga nidra we begin to clear the layers of karma holding you back from that part of you that’s not allow your vibrant, healthy multi-dimensional self to shine through.
When you surrender to your vital force you open space for the power to let go of what doesn’t serve you, so that your True Self has space to grow. Using yoga nidra meditation – a form of conscious sleep where you’re taken into deep brainwave states even below delta brainwaves to a place yogis call turiya – you will be able to relinquish old habits, patterns and beliefs making room for creativity, change, and abundance. This will affect all aspects of your life and help you strengthen loving relationships within your family, discover your purpose, know your self-worth, heal old habits, and find an unshakeable peace within you.
But you must surrender. That’s why often we need a push, which is the beauty of yoga nidra. It’s the mentor with few words, taking you to a wordless place of unity inside of you, a deep harmony that modern day living in waking state consciousness cannot provide.
Yoga nidra massages your divine feminine wisdom, that place where fear and faith reside together. Yoga nidra shows you that you don’t have to choose fear or faith. Life is always a dance of holding everything just as it is. In order to cross over to the other side and begin your Hero’s journey towards your power you have to surrender to fear and faith – attaching to neither – and in that surrender where you’ll find the courage to take a leap.
There’s one more opportunity to surrender that yoga nidra will give you: the opportunity to chuck perfect. Oh, how perfect parenting or any level of striving for perfection holds us back. Yoga nidra invites you to welcome your fear – and other emotions and beliefs – and it’s in this welcoming where we release our tight hold on perfection. It’s only then that you can give birth to optimal mind, body, and spirit wellbeing.
This is why rest is crucial. When we’re tired we beat ourselves up with “shoulds” and “I’m not enough” and “shame” that holds us back from seeing our truest self. When we rest we give our body deep restoration and when we consciously rest, which is yoga nidra, we allow ourselves to be seen – the beauty and the flaws – and this ends the loop of perfection and opens the doorway to begin your journey home, re-energizing your entire being. This is good medicine not only for us, but also for our children.
Studies today clearly show that when parents are stressed this can alter not only our DNA but our children’s DNA too. So while I’d like to tell you to go on this journey for yourself, if thinking of the impact your stress has on your children is what motivates you then let this be the juice to get you to the other side of the Hero’s Journey, on the path to discover your gold.
Rest is used to heal in virtually all modalities. When we’re sick, we are told to rest (and we tell our children to rest, right?). When we’re depressed we’re advised to get some rest. Why they don’t we give ourselves this permission to rest?
It’s time to start paying attention to the message you’re given when you get on an airplane: put your oxygen mask on first and thensecure your child’s. Imagine if we followed this simple advice? Be good to yourself, so you can be good to others. This is the ultimate surrender because when we nurture ourselves that’s when our vital force awakens and we are ready to find our gold and use it to change our life for the better.
Yoga nidra ultimately awakens what’s asleep inside of you. It gives you the deep restoration and focus you need to surrender and it’s in the surrender that you discover all the answers you need to change your life are within you; you just didn’t recognize them yet.
The Way Home to Your Calling
In yoga nidra an important facet that we uncover is your sankulpa – the deep heartfelt commitment you want to make to yourself. I like to call this your big dream. It’s a vision you have for how you want to be living your life. In yoga nidra your sankulpa is repeated when you are in the turiya state – a brainwave state that is below delta brainwaves where you are virtually thoughtless. It is here where you are open to rewiring and repatterning emotions, thoughts, and situations that are self-defeating.
If you have a child who is spirited you may feel anger toward them. In the state of turiya this is your opportunity to shift out of that place, not to perfection – there is no perfect relationship and remember we’re chucking perfect – but to a place that accepts everything just as it is. This is when you are truly free. You aren’t denying your anger or trying to make the situation perfect, you are creating harmony and balance within yourself.
Setting an intention in yoga nidra – sankulpa is the Sanskrit word for this – means surrender and sets you up for stepping into your Hero’s Journey from a deeply authentic, conscious place.
The important point of all of this is that most of us as parents feel we don’t have time to get the rest we need and we’re running around hiding behind ‘busy’ like a shield of armor to protect us from feeling. As a result we’re tired, we judge our parenting, we feel others are judging us and we stop creating our best life. Yoga nidra invites you to leave your fickle, judging self behind and let your intuitive power take over, to not let your life revolve around what your mind or other people’s minds think of you, and to experience your deeper, truer self. When you do you’ll find you can finally break out of a way of life that’s not serving you and unleash a more conscious parenting and lifestyle.
And here’s where I really shake my yoga nidra pom poms: as you surrender to the Hero’s journey using yoga nidra you’ll begin to feel your power return. You’ve always had this power; you just forgot how to use it. So ultimately yoga nidra just reminders you of what you already know. How sweet is that?
Your inner goddess will thank you for yoga nidra and so will your children. Heal thyself, heal others.