Be earth now, and evensong.
Be the ground lying under that sky.
Be modest now, like a thing
ripened until it is real… ~ Rilke “Onto a Vast Plain”
Lots of you know me from my Sleep Yoga recordings,
but something that is even more important to me
is people feeling like they can rest and sleep well
independent of gadgets, recordings, bells/whistles, and/or whatever.
All those supports are wonderful and helpful at times,
but wouldn’t it be nice to feel free of needing anything?
To just rest and sleep when we want/need, with a sense of trust, and ease?
One of the questions I get asked most often is
‘what are simple ways I can rest during the day when I feel tired,
but don’t have a lot of time and don’t want to nap
or meditate or set up restorative poses?’
So, here is something I have been practicing and sharing a lot lately.
It’s a naturally occurring posture that you already know
and have experienced, though possibly more so when you were a child.
It’s a similar stance to a snow angel, starfish,
standing ‘carefree’ position,
and/or DaVinci’s “Vitruvian Man”, pictured below.
It’s called Repose,
‘re-discovered’ by Victor Shamas (psychologist at U of Arizona & biofeedback researcher)
and Jhan Kold (rehabilitation specialist & yoga teacher) in January 2014
– as a way to hit our internal ‘pause or re-set button’
It involves lying on a flat, comfortable surface,
with arms extended perpendicular to torso,
palms up, legs wide, jaw relaxed, without strain,
in a quiet place with eyes open or closed.
The researchers have been recommending 7 minutes
three times a day, spaced evenly (e.g. 9, 3, 9) for maximum effectiveness.
Significant improvements have been noted in three areas:
- Psychological well-being (happiness, optimism, self-image, resilience)
- Flourishing (high levels of positivity, psychological functioning, social functioning)
- Physical health (ADL’s, climbing, bending and walking)
Case study participants have described benefits like:
reduced pain, improved sleep, increased sense of peace,
improved ability to break free of habitual thoughts, emotions and habits,
increased energy, mental acuity, creativity, memory and productivity…
just to name a few! (See more at www.repose4all.com)
Personally, I notice even ONCE a day is powerful and a great way to begin.
I love it because it is neither concentrative, nor ‘mindful’ per se –
attention is set free to do what it will.
Because of this, it’s easier to learn than most relaxation and meditation practices.
There is no strategy, agenda or technique.
No attempt to clear, empty or even observe the mind is required.
Another reason I love this is that it’s very similar
to something that I consider to be an endangered species
in some yoga circles – Savasana – corpse pose,
the integrative resting position that concludes yoga practice.
(Many practitioners cite Savasana as their favorite piece.
There are even t-shirts that say “I’m just here for the Savasana”)
I believe Savasana has been under-utilized not only as a tool
for digesting and absorbing a yoga class,
but also for helping us digest and absorb LIFE.
It’s a powerful, stand-alone practice
with potentially revolutionary implications.
Sooo…maybe test it out on yourself shall you?
Claim 7 minutes.
See where it transports you in this time
of February blah & between-ness.
With Love, ~ Jennifer