Let’s Talk About Self-Love for a Moment…
Over the last several years, there’s been a lot of talk about loving yourself in the body-positive movement. And while that’s a wonderful notion, loving ourselves when we’re at war with our body can feel like an impossible task. Or, maybe it just feels pointless in that we’re setting ourselves up for failure, disappointment. Furthermore, when we’re experiencing the following things:
- Chronic pain
- Chronic illness
- Trauma, or
- Stigma for a body that does not fit the cultural ideal…
The act of self-love can seem unfathomable. In other words:
Self-love in trying times can feel like a bunch of BS!
Awhile back I was on the “you gotta practice self-love” train too. That was until my train got derailed. Well, I’ve learned the hard way that chronic pain and illness can be physically/emotionally/spiritually painful. I hated my body way more than I loved it. That is for sure!
What does it mean to “neutralize the body experience?
However, I also now realize that body hatred is a form of body combat. And that kind of in-fighting only wires us for more stress. Which then only serves to keep or amplify dis-ease and unrest in both body and mind.
So what if we could rest in a space within us that didn’t have to be loving? Or hating?
What if we could rest in a place within ourselves that witnessed the whole body experience? The mistakes? The successes? The limitations? The abilities? The good? The bad? The right? The wrong?
And what might happen if we explored all these things in a state of presence and objectivity?
Finally, is it even possible to reach neutral ground with your thoughts/feelings/beliefs about your body? Well, I think so! Herein lies one of my favourite practices – Yoga Nidra…
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is a form of guided relaxation, also known as “awakened sleep” or deep conscious rest. While the body is in a relaxed and still position, participants navigate the thoughts, beliefs and emotions of the fluctuating mind.
Yoga Nidra puts a pause on the high stress experience of living in an injured, traumatized or stigmatized body. The parasympathetic nervous system takes over to facilitate a rest and digest state.
And just by being in this rest and digest mode, we physiologically bring our bodies into a neutral zone without having to force anything else (loving, hateful or otherwise).
A Yoga Nidra practice typically includes the following 2 things:
- An intention that is affirming, action oriented and in the present tense
- Exploring both extremes of various experiences, attempting to experience them at the same time
A Yoga Nidra Practice to Neutralize the Body Experience
Wanna try? I recorded a brief Yoga Nidra practice that I’m happy to share here. Before you begin:
- Remove potential distractions
- Find a space that is quiet and where you won’t be disturbed
- Setup in a comfortable position on the floor or chair
Here is your guided Yoga Nidra Session (20 minutes):
***Curious to try more Yoga Nidra and other relaxation strategies? Check the schedule for our next round of Small Group Restorative sessions and for registration details. Or, if group settings are not your thing, Michelle is booking 1:1 private sessions also. Contact us to set up your complimentary phone consult.